CHICAGO — Interest in plant-based foods isn’t a passing trend, according to a new report from The NPD Group.
The study, called The Future of Plant-based Snapshot, found millennials are the top consumers of plant-based meat alternatives. Born between 1981-1996, the group has adopted plant-based meat alternatives as a form of sensible indulgence and finds plant-based foods allow them to address long-term health goals and concerns over animal treatment, NPD said.
Gen X is another core consumer group for plant-based meat alternatives. Born between 1965-1980, many in this group are parents of Gen Z. This means that many consumers born after 1996 are being raised on plant-based food and beverages, according to the report.
NPD also found that boomers are decelerating their consumption of plant-based meat alternatives but are the top consumers of plant-based dairy alternatives.
The report forecasts that plant-based foods have staying power because the core consumer groups tend to be younger. It also notes that plant-based consumption isn’t driven by a rejection of traditional meat and dairy. About 90% of consumers eating plant-based foods also consume animal-based foods.
“First and foremost, taste is king when considering entering the plant-based food category,” said Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst at The NPD Group. “Attributes such as health and convenience go far to drive consumption, but if the flavor profile falls bellow 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.”