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5 Plant-Based Protein Trends for 2024

Innovation is driving the 2024 plant-based protein trends—from emerging proteins to nutrition-focused claims to new formats for plant-based meat and eggs.


Trends in plant-based foods for 2023 include:

  • Plant-Based School Lunches
  • New Plant-Based Meat Formats
  • Whole Egg Alternatives
  • Expansion in Plant-Based Seafood
  • New Plant-Based Protein Exploration

Top 2023 Plant-Based Protein Trends

Innovation and expansion in plant-based proteins is going strong as manufacturers focus on addressing consumers’ needs in the post-pandemic period. Here are the top 2023 plant-based protein trends to watch:

1) Plant-Based School Lunches

The state of California took a historic step with its recent budget approval of $700 million to support healthy, plant-based school lunches. $100 million is allocated to procuring plant-based, sustainably produced, and California-grown foods, while $600 million will go toward training staff and upgrading school kitchen infrastructure to support plant-based and scratch-cooking meal prep. This opens doors to plant-based meat companies like Rebellyous Foods, which has already developed a product geared toward K-12 foodservice called Kickin’ Nuggets.

2) New Plant-Based Meat Formats

Plant-based meat consumption is also on the rise in Europe. Investment into plant-based meat startups is ramping up, while innovation is accelerating among companies big and small—especially in newer formats beyond the standard patties and nuggets. Examples include Juicy Marbles’ Filet Mignon (Slovenia), Planted’s Schnitzel (Switzerland), Ojah’s Heppi Ribs (Netherlands), and Nestle’s Garden Gourmet Incredible 100% Plant-Based Bratwurst (Belgium).

avocado toast

3) Whole Egg Alternatives

While new plant-based eggs for use in scrambles like NEXT EGG by Next Meats (Japan) continue to enter the market, we’re now seeing a shift toward matching the whole egg. V-Love The Boiled launched by Migros (Switzerland) brands itself as the world’s first plant-based hard-boiled egg. Crafty Counter’s Wundereggs (US) is taking the same approach, while YO! Egg (Israel) offers a sunny side up egg alternative.

4) Expansion in Plant-Based Seafood

Companies are also busy filling the plant-based seafood gap. After Gathered Foods expanded its Good Catch plant-based seafood line into the European market, it made the news again for its partnership with Long John Silver’s, the largest quick-service seafood chain in the US, to sell Fish-Free Fillet and Crab-Free Cakes. Even seafood producers like Thai Union (Thailand) and Karavela (Latvia) are entering the plant-based seafood space.

5) New Plant-Based Protein Exploration

Pea, soy, rice, chickpea, and fava bean proteins are some of the key plant-based proteins from which finished goods manufacturers can choose when making their plant-based products. Now we can add canola and lupin proteins to the list thanks to processing investments underway in Canada. Soon upcycled barley protein will also be available through a partnership between AB InBev-backed startup EverGrain and Post Holdings' subsidiary Bright Future Foods.


A Healthy and Sustainable Future

2023 promises to be another big year for plant-based proteins as consumers seek healthy, sustainable, and exciting foods in the post-pandemic period. Companies that keep up with trends to offer consumers the right products with the right ingredients will be poised for success.

As a leading supplier of protein ingredients globally, Glanbia Nutritionals has the plant-based solutions that meet the needs of today’s consumers. Contact us to learn about our line of  Simpleat plant-based meat solutions and pea, chia, and flax proteins for bars, beverages, and bakery products. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Protein-fortified bars, bites, cookies, and brownies are all good protein snacks. Protein snacking is growing more and more popular, appealing to people on many fronts. Protein snacks are a healthy way to tide you over until mealtime; they provide satiety to help with weight management, and they support muscle recovery after a workout. The sweeter protein snacks like protein cookies and brownies also offer permissible indulgence.

Plant-based milk is made starting from beans (such as yellow peas or soybeans), nuts (such as almonds or cashews), grains (such as oats or rice), seeds (such as flax or hemp seeds), or another whole plant source. The starting material can either be soaked in water, ground into a slurry, and filtered to remove the insoluble fiber, or it can be ground into flour first before removing the insoluble fiber.

Next, water and other ingredients like flavors, sweeteners, vitamins, minerals, and thickeners are added. Finally, the plant-based milk is pasteurized and packaged. Some (like pea milk) are a good source of plant-based protein, while others (like oat milk) are known for their soluble fiber benefits. Manufacturers can also start with optimized ingredients to minimize any bitter plant tastes and ensure the smoothest texture.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for an adult with minimum physical activity is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. This means that someone with a low activity level who weighs 150 lbs. should be sure to consume at least 55 grams of protein each day to prevent a protein deficiency. This can be calculated by dividing your weight in lbs by 2.2 (to convert to kg) and multiplying by 0.8 grams: 150/2.2 x 0.8 = 55 grams).

However, certain groups of people have higher protein needs. For example, starting in their 40s to 50s, people need to increase their protein to 1-1.2 grams per kilogram to prevent age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia). People with very high activity levels (especially those who regularly lift weights or engage in endurance sports) may require 1.1-1.7 grams per kilogram. The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that 10%-35% of our calories should come from protein.


1-2. Ingredients Insider: Innovation in Plant and Non-Animal Protein Ingredients, November 2022. Data H1 2019 to H2 2022.
3-5. Ingredients Insider: Innovation in Plant and Non-Animal Protein Ingredients, November 2022.
6. Datassential, Proteins, June 2023.
7. Mintel, Plant-based Proteins – US, 2023.

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