Meat Alternative Segment Expands as Consumers Motivated by Health: DuPont Nutrition & Health
Insights show wellness, sustainability and environment motivate U.S. plant-based consumers, but manufacturers must deliver on taste and texture.
NEW CENTURY, Kan., March 25, 2019 – DuPont Nutrition & Health shared insights today showing consumer attitudes toward plant-based meat alternatives reveal significant interest and market opportunity in the meat-free, meal solution segment. The shift toward plant-based eating in the United States is fuelling the growing meat alternatives category. More than half (52 percent) of Americans report increasing their plant-based food and beverage intake, according to a 2017 Health Focus International study. A further 54 percent say including more plant in their diet makes them feel healthier.
“People are motivated to alter their diets to include more plant-based foods because they believe it will enhance their overall wellness, provide specific health benefits and help the environment,” said Mark Cornthwaite, Marketing Manager, DuPont Nutrition & Health. In fact, health was the main motivator for eating meat alternatives in a 2018 Markets and Markets Meat Alternative survey, where 96 percent of respondents said it was either important or very important. Overall health was followed by heart health (63 percent), illness prevention (60 percent), and a longer lifespan (59 percent). Social motivators, such as sustainability and the environment, while important, are secondary compared to health.
Minding the gaps
“With consumers embracing more plant-based foods, the meat alternatives category is really gaining momentum, and there’s lots of opportunity for growth,” said Cornthwaite. “But gaps still exist in the marketplace. Our research shows people see taste, texture and lack of variety in meat alternatives as barriers to eating more plant-based foods.”
In a 2019 MotiveQuest analysis of 3 million internet conversations focused on plant-based eating, taste and texture surfaced as key factors in enjoyment of meat alternative products, although they often did not meet expectations. People also talked about wanting more variety or options in the meat alternative space.
DuPont Nutrition & Health is uniquely qualified to help food manufacturers fill these market gaps in taste, texture and variety in meat alternatives, because of its expansive ingredient portfolio and decades of development experience and research in plant-based proteins, specifically related to meat alternatives. DuPont experts can help brands achieve real meat-like taste and texture and create innovative formats. “What sets us apart is we can provide, for many plant-based meat alternative formats, the majority of the components needed to develop a product from plant proteins to hydrocolloids and antimicrobials to antioxidants and colors,” explained Cornthwaite. “Consumers want really fantastic plant-based burgers, breakfast patties, fajitas, sausages, to name a few, and we can help our customers deliver that and more.”