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Inspired Tastes

Evolving Plant-Based

March 2021 | NATALIE, MARKETING MANAGER

COVID-19 has brought health to the forefront of many consumers’ minds, encouraging them to find new ways to incorporate plants into their diets. Many are also considering the ethical implications of eating a plant-based diet, from impacts on the environment to impacts on animal welfare, and are making changes accordingly. While most consumers aren’t switching to entirely plant-based diets, plenty are experimenting with flexitarian eating, Meatless Mondays, and other smaller shifts towards a more plant-focused diet.

As consumers try to reduce their meat intake, they’re looking to alternatives to fill the gaps across categories, including burgers, sausages, shellfish, and cheese. With new innovations in 3D printing and protein fermentation, these alternatives are becoming more delectable, varied, and viable as mainstream options.

Why This Trend Will Stick

BIG DEMAND FOR PLANT-BASED FOODS
28% of people said that they have been eating more protein from plant sources during the pandemic. - International Food Information Council

PROACTIVELY EATING FOR HEALTH
90% of consumers are interested in functional foods. - Datassential Functional Foods Keynote Report

Meatless Meats

Plant-based alternatives to meat products are nothing new. Brands, restaurants, and home cooks have experimented with everything from black bean burgers to Tofurkey® (turkey made from tofu), devising dozens of recipes for plant-based foods that mimic a meat-based counterpart.

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These plant-based meats have only gotten more sophisticated and closer to perfectly replicating the originals. UK-based Moving Mountains has launched a meat-free, vegan-friendly fish alternative in their new fish fingers. These are made from soy protein with all the crispiness and flakiness of real fish fingers, but without meat, mercury, and even microplastics. They even boast the classic white insides of a fish finger thanks to white soy. Moving Mountains’ website speaks highly of the product’s environmental impacts, noting that their packaging creates less waste and that processing soy creates lower greenhouse gas emissions than processing animal products. Whether a consumer is seeking out plant-based fish sticks for their health benefits, environmental impacts, or delicious flavor, they’ll be well-served by Moving Mountains.

Another sophisticated plant-based alternative comes from Renegade Food. Their plant-based collection is perfect for swanky dinner parties, providing all the benefits of plant-based eating without losing any of the charm. Featuring vegan Soppressata, Toscana salami with wild fennel seeds, and a spiced Chorizo, these meats are made from mushrooms, garlic, olive oil, miso, apple cider vinegar, and other flavorful plant-based ingredients. Each sausage is then treated with traditional smoking techniques to provide the same rich flavor profile as regular meat products.

Innovative Protein Sources

While soy, pea protein, and wheat gluten might be the most familiar plant-based protein sources, they aren’t the only ones. For companies and cooks willing to branch out, there are many unexplored protein sources that could be used to make meatless meals. The meat and seafood alternatives from Prime Roots are made with Koji, a whole-food source of protein traditional to Japanese cuisine. It’s the basis of many classic creations, including miso, sake, and soy sauce, providing the umami flavor and meaty texture to Prime Roots’ plant-based offerings with even more protein.

Dairy-Free, Flavor-Filled

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The need for plant-based alternatives goes beyond meat products. For those also eschewing dairy products, there’s a strong need for good plant-based alternatives that have the right taste and texture. One such alternative comes from The Collective, which offers a plant-based, Greek-style yogurt made from blended oats, coconut, and rice. Just like regular yogurt, it comes in a natural flavor as well as a few sweet varieties, including Raspberry, Passion Fruit, and Fudge.

Takeaways

  • Consumers are open to a wide variety of plant-based meat alternatives. Look to unique sources such as Japanese koji to base meatless products on.
  • With a bit of creative thinking, plant-based alternatives can be created for foods across the entire spectrum, including traditionally dairy-heavy products such as yogurt and texture-focused meat experiences such as fish sticks.

To partner with us on your next full-flavored plant-based innovation, contact your McCormick account manager or contact us today.