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Inspired Tastes

Plant-Based Blissful Snacks

September 2022 | Marketing & Insights

With the plant-based market growing rapidly, the savory snacks market is seeing exponential growth in plant-based alternatives. Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in plant-based options that suit their lifestyles. Demand for plant-based snacks will continue to climb, whether for health reasons or as a response to climate change, animal welfare, and other social and environmental issues.

We’re seeing snack brands innovate around plant-based ingredients and leverage innovations around flavor and texture to mimic the taste experience of real meat. With consumers more conscious of the foods they consume and their impact on the environment, they’re making the switch to plant-based alternatives that are also healthier.

Why it is Interesting

GROWTH IN PLANT-BASED SNACKING
The global plant-based snacks market was $34.69 billion in 2019 and forecasted to reach $73.61 billion by 2028. 
-
Future Market Insights

WILLING TO SPEND
People purchasing plant-based foods have a higher basket ring, spending 61% more than the average shopper. And 37% of plant-based meat purchaser households earn over $100K annually. 
-National Household Panel

OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH
“The entry points are multiple… and core to consumer beliefs, motivations, lifestyles, and interests. Opportunity for growth and new products [in plant-based foods] is strong, and we are in for an exciting time.” 
-
Steven Walton, General Manager of HealthFocus International  

Vegan Jerky

With the alternative meat market growing rapidly, brands are leveraging the use of mushrooms, jackfruit, eggplant, and other vegetables to create plant-based jerky snacks that mimic the flavors and texture of meat-based jerky.

Vegan jerky comes in an array of flavors. Some brands try to replicate a meat-like flavor while others are creating an umami sweet and salty taste. The bases mainly contain mushrooms, dehydrated fruits, and coconut. Many are being flavored with sweet and spice, including Hawaiian teriyaki, applewood BBQ, pineapple mojito, balsamic eggplant, and zesty Thai. 

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Dairy-Free Cheese

To cater to vegan-based consumers or consumers with dairy allergies, brands are creating snacks with dairy-free cheese options, while leveraging traditional cheese flavors such as cheddar and parmesan.

Dairy-free cheese snacks are being incorporated both as flavors and bases to salty snacks. Many are being complimented with herbs such as rosemary, sea salt, and blacked pepper, but the primary focus is on creating a cheese-like flavor.

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Plant-Based Sea Snacks

With the global seaweed snacks market expected to grow at rate of 10.8% from 2020 to 2027 to reach $3.36 billion by 2027, seaweed products are being incorporated into spice blends, salty snacks, and even consumed as stand- alone snacks.

Here, we find snacks that leverage the umami-forward profile of seaweed as the primary flavor or as an added ingredient to elevate a dish. Various forms of seaweed, nori, and wakame are being complimented with other flavors such as tempura and sesame seeds, and spiced with flavors such as spicy chipotle and sweet chili.

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Superfood Snacks

A growing number of snacks are being packed with nutrients and superfoods to provide a healthy element, and then flavored with bold and traditional flavors to create an enjoyable balance.

Within this microtrend, flavors are being packed with nutrients. We’re seeing mushroom-based snacks and ancient grain puffs paired with nutritious ingredients and added flavor pairs that provide an extra punch, like everything, smoky BBQ, nacho, cheddar cheese, chipotle BBQ, cayenne and ginger.

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Takeaways

  • Smoky, rich, and umami flavors that are used in alternative meats and vegan jerky options can successfully be leveraged as starting points for flavor development.
  • There‚Äôs an opportunity to leverage cheesy flavors in plant-based alternatives and elevate these experiences with flavor pops of spice, smoke, and herbs.
  • Incorporating plant-based flavors from the sea (seaweed, nori, wakame) to create bold, umami, and naturally "sea-salty" flavors and expand on the flavor profiles with hints of spice, sesame, and sweet chilis.

Let’s collaborate on your next blissful plant-based innovation. Contact your McCormick account manager or contact us today.