Plant-based: Passing fad, or wave of the future?

Chicago, IL—A new study from the NPD Group looked at the plant-based food market, and found that plant-based as a category is here to stay—as long as it tastes good, according to a press release.

The NPD Group’s study found that Millennials are the top consumers of plant-based meat alternatives; they see the category as a way to indulge, while addressing long-term health goals and animal treatment concerns. Gen Xers are also a core consumer group—and, generally speaking, they’re the parents of Gen Zs, who have therefore been raised on plant-based products. Boomers are decelerating their consumption of plant-based meat alternatives, but they’re the top consumers of plant-based dairy alternatives.

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The press release notes that plant-based food consumption isn’t about rejecting traditional protein sources; around 90% of plant-based eaters are neither vegetarian nor vegan: Rather, they just want options. It’s also, in many cases, about taste. Darren Seifer, NPD Food and Beverage Industry Analyst, said in the release: “First and foremost taste is king when considering entering the plant-based foods category. Attributes such as health and convenience go far to drive consumption, but if the flavor profile falls below consumers’ expectations, then the product will likely have a short run. Whether it’s marketing a plant-based burger that reproduces the meat-eating experience or a dairy alternative that has the taste and texture of milk, consumers now have substitution without sacrifice.”