Get our best content directly in your inbox
Sign up

7 plant-based trends and innovations we’ve seen so far in 2022

young woman with glasses smiling
6 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
Cherry ice cream on the dark rustic background

The vegan food and drink market has grown immensely with new brands and products launched since Food Matters Live made a list of plant-based trends for 2022.

Several categories have seen much development such as vegan cheese, milk, and fish, with several new and improved products making it onto supermarket shelves. While egg substitutes are still limited, consumers may get to try more of them by the end of the year. Plant-based meat alternatives are also becoming easier to find wherever you go.

Vegan dairy alternatives: cheese, ice cream, milk and chocolate

Plant-based cheese

A range of new affordable cheese alternatives have hit the shelves recently, including plant-based Philadelphia almond and oat soft cheese, Boursin plant-based garlic & herbs, and vegan Babybel which in our vegan cheese taste test scored higher than its dairy counterpart for having a better taste than the milk-based original.

The selection of artisanal vegan cheeses have also continued to grow, though these still tend to be more expensive than the grocery brands.

Plant-based ice cream

The demand for dairy-free ice cream has been soaring recently, and it isn’t predicted to slow down any time soon. A recent report has revealed that the global vegan ice cream market will witness a CAGR of 10.80% by 2029, and reach nearly $600 million.

In the UK some recent product launches include Jude’s salted caramel stick, plant-based strawberry and a limited-edition plant-based peach and champagne ice cream pint. In February 2022, the brand also made a pledge to make half of its range plant-based within the next three years.

While Tesco brand Wicked Kitchen’s ice cream range made from lupin beans made its initial launch in the UK in 2021, it has now made a successful appearance in the US Kroger supermarkets too. Flavours include a berry white sticks, chocolate and red berry cones, chocolate and almon sticks, and vanilla, chocolate, mint chocolate chip, or cookie dough ice cream pints.

Milk alternatives

While Swedish company Dug announced the launch of its potato milk through Amazon last September, it finally hit shelves across the UK in Waitrose in February. As well as the essential ingredient of potatoes, it’s created from a mixture of pea protein, chicory fibre and rapeseed oil.

Plant-based chocolate

One of the biggest plant-based launches in the British confectionary sector over the past year has been Cadbury’s plant-based bars, which are now available in a salted caramel and smooth chocolate flavour. Other popular chocolate brands breaking into dairy-free territory include Lindt, which launched tow new vegan bars in the UK – smooth and hazelnut flavour. The bars are made by replacing the dairy with a gluten-free oat milk powder and almond paste.

Healthier plant-based chocolate is also now on the market. Push Chocolate Buttons’ range of low sugar, higher in protein chocolate are available to consumers in original, mint, orange, honeycomb and salted caramel flavours.

Egg substitutes

There has been significant advancement in getting plant-based egg replacements to market this year. In April 2022, Eat Just’s plant-based egg alternative JUST Egg alternative was granted the ability to enter the markets of EU countries and European Free Trade Association, after a key ingredient in its product – mung bean protein – was deemed safe under novel food requirements by the EU Commission. The company expects its products to be launched in the UK by the end of the year.

French start-up Le Papondu is also currently working with restaurants to launch its egg alternative in France. Following this initial launch, the product will then be sold online and in supermarkets.

Plant-based meats and fish make an appearance on restaurant menus

While an enormous selection of new meat alternatives have appeared on supermarket shelves in 2022, restaurants have also begun to introduce more options on their menus – from fine dining spots to takeaway shops.

Over the past year, Israeli company Redefine Meat’s New Meat products have started to appear in more of Marco Pierre White’s restaurant menus. The company’s Beef and Lamb Flank Steaks have also recently been launched onto the menus of six popular London restaurants.

Vegan sashimi has made an appearance in several restaurants. Made of konjac and sometimes carrot or tomato, it’s proving popular with vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians.

plate of plant-based sashimi

Plant-based sashimi made of konjac, carrot or tomato, is proving popular with diners.

Plant-based sashimi made of konjac, carrot or tomato, is proving popular with diners.

The popular plant-based meat company Impossible Foods also launched its plant-based sausage patties and chicken nuggets in the UK this year. The products can now be tried at more than 300 restaurants, but also in popular takeaway shops like Chicken Cottage, Halo Burger and Patty & Bun, as well as the Hungry Horse pub chain. The company aims to expand its full product portfolio into supermarkets and thousands of restaurants in the UK by the end of 2022.

With the recent rise in inflation, it is even likely that plant-based meat may become a preferred option for restaurants to sell due to it becoming cheaper than animal meat in some countries such as the Netherlands.

Plant-based food on the go

The food-to-go market has seen a lot of new plant-based options arrive in 2022. In June of this year Barcelona-based company Heura launched a plant-based partnership with Leon, introducing a Vegan Harissa Chick’n Wrap to consumers.

Food Matters Live winner of Product of the Year in 2020, THIS, recently launched a new range of plant-based lunch options and snacks in WH Smiths including three new vegan chicken sandwiches made from their alt chicken pieces, as well as a snack pot range featuring plant-based chicken tika pieces and pork cocktail sausages.

Quick bites

Innovation has also taken off for plant-based meat snacks. Fry’s Popcorn Chick’n launched earlier this year in Iceland and Tesco, while Vegan Fried Chickn (VFC) has also released a popular vegan Fried Popcorn Chickn, made from a blend of wheat and soya protein breaded in fried corn flakes.

Plant-based fish

While the meat alternatives market still remains the most saturated, vegan fish is really taking off this year. In 2021, breaded fish was the main option on the market, but more recent releases have included other options like flaked tuna, which has made a debut in Starbucks’ Tu’nAH sandwich. Brazilian brand Future Farm also launched its tuna alternative Future Tvna in Sainsbury’s towards the end of last year.

Breaded plant-based fish still remains popular. In July, Oowee partnered with OmniFoods to launch a limited-edition Ocean Burger at its fast food outlets across the UK until the middle of August. OmniFoods also debuted its vegan fish for Veganuary 2022 at popular restaurant chain Wagamama.

Israeli start-up Plantish also unveiled its whole-cut plant-based salmon fillet at the beginning of this year, although the company says it won’t be launched on the market until 2024.

What’s next?

While it may not be taking over the market just yet, fungi-based protein is expected to be the next ingredient to watch out for in the development of plant-based proteins. In May 2022, Oman Investment Authority (OIA) and the Colorado-based Mycotechnology announced a collaboration to build a production facility for making alternative mushroom-based proteins with the sugar from the country’s 400,000-tonne annual date yield.

Mycelium – a root like structure in mushrooms’ vegetative tissues is predicted to become a key ingredient in developing future meat alternatives. It is particularly popular for its essential amino acids and resilience to climate issues such as floods or droughts.


Related content