USA – As consumers increasingly turn to plant-based alternatives, factors such as taste, availability, quality, and health benefits are driving their purchasing decisions, according to a recent report on the state of the plant based industry.

The annual report, conducted by the Good Food Institute (GFI), examines investments, consumer research, sales trends, and other data related to plant-based foods.

The report notes that while familiarity and awareness of plant-based foods have surged over the past decade, the growth in household purchases of some categories has plateaued or even declined in recent years.

For instance, while nearly half of U.S. households bought plant-based milk at least once in 2023, only 15 percent purchased plant-based meat and seafood.

One significant challenge identified in the report is the persistent price gap between plant-based products and their conventional counterparts, which poses a barrier for plant-based brands seeking broader consumer adoption.

Furthermore, the quality of plant-based meat products has been cited as another deterrent for potential consumers – taste parity has become a major focus for researchers and manufacturers, with efforts directed towards optimizing plant protein cultivation, utilizing agricultural by-products innovatively, and developing processes and ingredients that closely mimic the sensory attributes of conventional meat products.

Companies in the industry have been making strides in improving taste and texture.

For instance, Beyond Meat recently launched a new burger product at retail, featuring avocado oil and higher quality plant protein sources like fava beans and lentils.

Similarly, Daring, a plant-based chicken company, offers a high-quality frozen product with a minimal list of ingredients.

Looking ahead to 2024, the report suggests that companies should continue to work towards reducing prices and refining their products to closely resemble conventional meat characteristics.

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