The Surge in Plant-Based Meat Sales During COVID-19
Plant-based meats have been on the rise due to consumer trends in healthy diets, sustainable foods, and adventurous eating. The category has quickly shifted from a few large food companies selling frozen offerings to startup innovations like “raw” refrigerated plant-based meats, private-label launches by supermarkets, and a proliferation of fast food plant-based meats.
When the COVID-19 outbreak led to meat processor shutdowns and retail shortages, many consumers had to switch to plant-based meats so they could continue making their families’ favorite meals. Now, many of these new consumers are repeat purchasers. Increased sales and expanded household penetration have made this an exciting time for the plant-based meat category.
2021 Plant-Based Meat Trends
Continued strong growth for plant-based meats is expected into the new year, with manufacturers remaining nimble and responsive to consumers’ needs. Here’s a look at the top trends in plant-based meats for 2021:
1. Plant-Based Meats for Immune Health
Health experts have been weighing in on the COVID-19 crisis, with some taking to social media to promote plant-based diets as a way to strengthen the immune system. The argument is that certain chronic conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes—which increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19—are also linked to meat consumption. Expect this message to reach more consumers in the new year.
2. Cleaner Ingredient Labels
With more consumers considering the health impacts of the foods they’re eating, plant-based meat labels will come under closer scrutiny. Manufacturers will continue working toward 100% clean label ingredients, for example, removing binders like methylcellulose and modified starches, as well as artificial flavors and flavor enhancers like disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate.