No Bull: The Future of Animal-free Meat Alternatives
There have always been plenty of reasons for people to choose a plant-based diet. From health benefits to religious beliefs, and even concern for the environment, eating a diet mostly or wholly made of plants and plant byproducts is the norm for millions of people around the globe.
For those making the switch from eating meat, it may be intimidating to think of a diet without a juicy, satisfying burger or a steak coming your way every now and then. In the past, if you were a confirmed carnivore, a black bean veggie patty just didn’t hold the same allure. Times are changing, though, and these days you might not be able to tell whether the savory slab between the burger buns was once on the hoof or sprouting from a field.
The Meat Alternatives Boom
With products like Beyond Sausage and the Impossible Burger hitting grocery store shelves and showing up in restaurants as mainstream as Burger King, meat alternatives are starting to come into their own. Taste, texture, and nutrition are finally coming together in a package that is proving alluring to more and more customers every year.
During 2019, the retail market in the United States for plant-based foods grew at eight times the rate of the retail food market as a whole. That year, plant-based foods were worth more than $4.5B and grew at a rate of more than 31% over the two years prior. This far outpaced the overall retail total dollar sales increase of 4%.
As is the case in any new trend, as interest increases, so does consumers’ discretion. As buzz about new products fills social media feeds, expectations grow for these foods to stand out from existing offerings. Better texture, eye-catching colors, mouth-watering flavor, and solid nutrition numbers are all necessary if you are going to get noticed in an increasingly crowded field of offerings.
Opportunities for Product Expansion
Getting the fundamentals of flavor and texture right have been the foundation of the success of projects like the Impossible Burger. Their yeasty brew of plant-derived heme protein is proving to be the basis for a growing revolution of new meat alternative products. As this segment of the market continues to explode, there will be more and more opportunities to own unique new flavor profiles and combinations based on this new approach to the familiar taste and texture of meat.
A few years ago, it was possible to sell plant-based meat alternatives on protein content alone. The primary concern of many buyers was whether they were going to be able to replace the dietary protein they were previously getting from meat. While grams of protein are still a significant concern for athletes looking into a plant-based diet, taste, texture and the presence of micronutrients are now purchasing factors for many consumers.
Anyone coming to a plant-based diet is likely to have health and wellness concerns at the top of the list of decision-making factors. Building a product around a healthier alternative to meat will only be attractive to customers if the other ingredients on the list, even the herbs and spices used to build your unique flavor, are healthy, natural, high-quality ingredients as well.
The Silva product line contains many of the key ingredients you should be considering if you are going to bring a new plant-based protein product to market. Not only are many of our products available in certified organic versions, but our attention to quality and consistency in our production process ensures you are getting the best, and most nutritious, versions of the herbs, spices, and vegetables possible. The same is true of our mushrooms, which can be valuable tools to have at your disposal as you try to nail the perfect texture of your next dish.
We eat with our eyes first, and you may have an extra hill to climb if you are trying to convince still-wary consumers that a veggie burger or a plant-based sausage are going to be as appetizing as the old animal proteins they know and love. Here Silva’s lineup of fruits and vegetables are at your disposal with popular natural colorants like carrots, beets, and broccoli.
The key to success as the plant-based revolution unfolds will be to stake a claim to distinctive flavors, excellent textures, and the visual appeal customers are demanding. It is going to be crucial to do this with a short list of natural ingredients that lend a craveable flavor without scaring off health-conscious consumers. With the science of building authentic, meat-like plant proteins being ironed out, now it is time for the art of bringing tomatoes, peppers, and other other vegetables into the mix to seal the deal.
If you are looking to expand our lineup of animal protein alternatives, or if it is time to branch out into plant-based proteins for the first time, talk to a member of our customer relationship team today to see how Silva can give your products the appeal, and the nutritional edge you are looking for.