Ingredients and Diets: Developments in Plant-Based Protein

November 2021

As consumers increasingly seek plant-based protein ingredients, producers are ever-more interested in plant-based food for health and sustainability; innovation around plant-based protein ingredients is surging. This briefing suggests that, besides the approach of focusing on ingredients, producers also need to consider promoting how existing foods can fit into a plant-based diet and encourage consumers to reduce animal protein by substituting more plant-based food.

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Key Findings

Consumption of plant-based protein is seen as important for health

Many people are trying to eat more plant-based food for their health and for sustainability reasons. To respond to consumers, producers are investing in developing plant-based protein ingredients to replace animal protein. Examples such as soy and pea have been leaders in meat substitutes and dairy alternatives, but competition to find new ingredients is intensifying.

Staple foods see protein-for-carbohydrate substitution

In order to portray attractive health benefits, food companies are producing high-protein staple foods such as noodles and baked goods. Reducing carbohydrate is an appealing factor to many consumers buying within the staple foods category. Adding more plant-based protein brings innovation to the protein food market; soy noodle, lupin bread, tiger nuts baking mix etc are proving good sources of plant-based protein when making staple foods.

Focus on taste, not just health, remains necessary

Plant-based ingredients and food are well known as healthy but can still suffer from the perception that they lack attractive tastes. Good ingredients can overcome this hurdle if consumers are comfortable with them; for example, in Asia, tofu is considered as a good option and manufacturers are investing in innovation of tofu formats for snacking options, beyond just the “healthy meal” positioning.

Feasibility for flexitarians, vegetarians and vegans is important

If the purpose of developing plant-based protein ingredients is to reduce the consumption of animal protein (in order to improve health and sustainability), it is also important to promote how existing foods can fit into a plant-based diet rich in protein. Thus, rather than investing in food tech to find out new plant-based protein ingredients, focusing on balanced diets featuring a reduced amount of animal protein and diverse plant-based dishes may be a better approach. Diets such as K-food, the Japanese diet and the Mediterranean diet are giving the same message.

Introduction

Scope
Key findings

Seeking Health Through Plant Based-Protein

Intake of protein has increased for reasons of health

SEEKING HEALTH THROUGH PLANT BASED-PROTEIN

“High protein” products surge with rising consumption of protein
Preferred sources of protein vary for health
Pea leads good performance of non-animal derived proteins
Flexitarians drive plant-based protein market

Innovations Across Staple Foods

Ingredient companies innovate in the face of increasing competition
Concerns over high carbs encourage revamps to protein products
High protein noodles boosted by health-conscious consumers…
…and producers respond more widely with high protein claims
Protein noodle case study: VIP Noodle
High protein and plant-based claims are active in baked goods
Plant-based protein ingredients popular for baked goods
Lupin use increases through protein-rich baked goods
Tiger nuts also rise as a plant-based protein ingredient for baked goods

Meeting Flexitarian Needs with Diets

Attracting consumers with plant-based protein as part of a meal
Pulmuone, global leading tofu manufacturer, opens a new market
Feasible flexitarian diets feature a harmony of healthy ingredients
K-food diet: Protein and vegetable mix holds flexitarian appeal
K-food diet boasts particular health benefits from plant-based side dishes

FEASIBLE CHOICE FOR plant-based DIET

In addition: The Mediterranean and Japanese diets

Key Takeaways

Key takeaways
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