Plant-based ingredients are popular inclusions not just because they’re healthy. They also provide consumers with a variety of new taste experiences, which is important in the EMEA market.
For example, the Saudi Arabian food flavors industry is undergoing a transformation with trends that are often influenced by social media. The changing purchasing patterns of the consumers, urbanization, and fast-paced lifestyles are affecting dietary habits, according to Mordor Intelligence
The study notes a similar trend in Africa, where there is an increasing demand for recognizable and authentic flavors in dairy and frozen products, among many others.
European consumers have a growing interest in experiencing new flavors. According to EIT, 30% of Europeans want to eat more varied foods because of the pandemic and 39% of European consumers reported experimenting more with new recipes. And, the plant-based food market continues to shine in Europe, where growth is expected to go up at a CAGR of 8.87% during the forecast period (2020-2025).
A few tips for food and beverage manufacturers who want to take advantage of the plant-based trends:
1. Keep health in mind
Consumers appreciate plant-based ingredients in food and beverage products that benefit their overall health.
“Long-term physical, mental, and emotional health benefits are growing in importance,” said Onur Ci, Business Development for Chaucer Foods in the UK and Ireland. “Therefore, health and well-being are no longer simply about looking after oneself in broader terms or about extreme total lifestyle changes. Instead, a holistic approach is becoming a key motivator of consumer behavior, which implies that consumers are looking for health and well-being in everything they do.”
2. Understand snacking needs
If you’re creating a healthy snack, it’s important to understand when it is most likely to be consumed and what nutrition and protein expectations consumers might have.
“If consumers are going to eat a snack in place of a traditional meal, then the product has to help the consumer feel full, which is resulting in the rise of protein and fiber in snacks,” Ci said. “Moreover, health is also important. When consumers are replacing traditional meals they do not want something that is completely indulgent all the time, they want something that is healthy.”
3. Watch consumption trends
There are many influences on consumer food and beverage consumption behavior, from social media to scientific studies. You also need to keep in mind longstanding cultural influences as well.
Vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian diets are influencing consumer purchases and innovation in Europe and the UK. According to Innova Market Insights, vegan claims were linked to more than 10% of total products launched in Europe during 2020. More than 20% of food launches in the UK in 2020 were vegan, compared to 11% in the US, according to Mintel.
The popularity of non-alcoholic beverages is also increasing around the world. In Africa, non-alcoholic beverages market had a moderate growth rate during 2015-2020. These beverages commonly include carbonated soft drinks, juices, bottled water, sports and energy drinks, and ready-to-drink tea and coffee. (Imarc group). EIT notes that 24% of Europeans reported consuming less alcohol.
Also in Europe, the growing popularity of the vegan diet and consumer issues with lactose intolerance are driving the market for plant-based food and beverages, according to (Mordor Intelligence)