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What’s next for plant-based?

young woman smiling
3 min read
AUTHOR: Jess Bradley
Vegan food on a table

Over the last few years, plant-based substitutes have become increasingly popular.

The Food Matters Live podcast has featured many episodes on what needs to be considered when creating plant-based alternatives. We take a look at the burger picture.

Innovations in taste and texture for meat alternatives look to encourage consumers to try new products

Eating is probably the most multi-sensory experience that we have. It involves all of our senses, and we are influenced by how food looks and how it tastes, whilst smell is essential for our appreciation of flavour. We also need our senses of sound and touch to appreciate the texture of food. 

The challenge for meat substitutes often arises when they promise to offer a similar experience to eating a meat counterpart. If a product is being advertised as tasting just like meat, or the packaging tells us that it’s going to have a certain flavour or texture, then that sets up an expectation in the consumers mind against which they subconsciously judge their sensory experience. So if those expected and real experiences are incongruent, then the overall experience is actually a negative one. As that element of surprise is not positive.

Speakers Tracey Sanderson, Managing Director at Sensory Dimensions, Angela Whitney, Area Manager at Barentz, and Mariano Vasconcellos, Technical Director of Food at Barentz delve into how brands can improve the texture and taste of their products.

Plant-based eating could be a two-pronged solution to the global health and sustainability crisis

The food that we produce and consume contributes 20 – 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a significant driver of global biodiversity loss. Agriculture in all its forms uses about 70% of all freshwater that we extract. There are 820 million hungry people around the world, one billion who don’t have enough micronutrients, and a further one billion people who are overweight. It means confronting a twin crisis, both planetary and human.

Eating more plants, reducing livestock product and consuming less but better meats is at the heart of meeting those challenges. 

Speakers Morten Toft Bech the Founder of Meatless Company, Henrik Lund, CEO at Naturli, and Mark Driscoll, Director at Tasting the Future discuss the importance of new brands emerging into the space to create more variety for consumers, and what might still be blocking the way.

In order for plant-based alternatives to compete financially, we need to see mass production

Some of the challenges seen relate to things such as price point. A lot of this innovation costs a lot simply because it’s new and because it’s not yet gained mass production benefits, economies of scale and so on. And simply, it’s just not demanded at the scale we need to reduce its pricing.

At the same time, it will be more expensive because there is equal, if not more work that goes into replicating some of those alternatives as plant-based. So it is something that requires adoption and education from the brands’ point of view in order for that adoption to happen.

Listen to the trends of 2022 to hear speakers Rohini Alam the Global Brand Manager for Plant Based at Nestle Professional SBU and Philip Linardos the Co-founder and CEO of ShelfNow as they discuss everything from supermarket product placement to their surprises at the plant-based market.


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