The plant-based trend continues to evolve, moving beyond the obvious manifestations in food to products across apparel, consumer health, beauty and personal care, drinks and even home care. This report examines its spread and what consumers are looking for, showcasing some key examples across the industries which demonstrate how producers are responding to customer interest.
SKUs with plant-based, vegan and/or vegetarian claims are continuing to increase, with beauty and personal care the leading category ahead of food and beverages (with consumer health next). Moreover, beauty and personal care houses the highest number of industry professionals with plans to develop/launch products carrying these claims in 2022.
Despite recent noise regarding a slowdown in sales – caused primarily by some companies’ unrealistic forecasts not being met – plant-based continues to grow in retail sales and in foodservice. In the latter case, mass-market launches (such as McDonald’s McPlant range) have the potential to significantly widen the consumer base.
Plant-based brands and claims in beverages have come to represent lightly-processed, “natural” ingredients and formulations – an absence of artificial or synthetically derived ingredients. Plant-powered functional beverages and natural, plant-based low-calorie sweeteners are fruitful areas of product development for 2022.
OTC drugs and vitamins and dietary supplements have seen double-digit rises in relevant claims. Within consumer health, sports nutrition is seeing the strongest surge in plant-based product development, reflecting the increased blurring between performance-based products for fitness and softer lifestyle options promoted for basic protein supplementation.
Efficacy concerns and commoditisation are restricting the potential of plant-based ingredients. However, a growing percentage of consumers are demanding more sustainable solutions, with natural and organic product credentials gaining in relevance. Probiotics may offer a credible solution in terms of the health vs efficacy battle.
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