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What’s the latest on the ‘flexitarian’ trend?

Adi Menayang

By Adi Menayang

11-Jul-2016
Last updated on 11-Jul-2016 at 17:44 GMT2016-07-11T17:44:23Z

Cashew cheese, a vegan alternative. Photo: istock/Byheaven
Cashew cheese, a vegan alternative. Photo: istock/Byheaven

As a plant-based diet becomes more on trend, analysts from Innova Market Insights reveal “new opportunities to target vegans, vegetarians, non-meat eaters, and non red-meat eaters.”

In the CPG sector, meat alternatives are popping out here and there, either for consumers craving a meat-like texture (think jackfruit ), or to add more protein  in their diets sans meat using plant ingredients.

More consumers are taking an even deeper plunge—not just abstaining from meat, but any animal-derived products and by-products. Analysis from last year announced at the Expo West 2015 show revealed that veganism is going mainstream .

But then there’s “flexitarianism,” a recently minted term used to describe consumers who still eat meat, but intentionally less of it, adhering to a primarily plant-based diet instead.

Market opportunities

“New opportunities are emerging for so-called flexitarians, who mainly eat a plant-based diet, but do occasionally eat meat,” said Netherlands-based Innova Market Insights in a press release.

Speaking numbers, there was a 60% rise in global food and beverage new product launches bearing a vegetarian claim between 2011 and 2015. Increases were also seen for products with a vegan claim, now accounting for 4.3% of total global product introductions in 2015, up from 2.8% in 2014.

In the US, the figures were higher, with 7.5% of new food and beverage launches in 2015 to date featuring vegan claims, said Innova: “The snacks, cereals, ready meals, bakery, and soft drink categories together account for half of US new product launches tracked with a vegetarian and/or vegan claim between 2011 and 2015."

'High quality meat alternative opportunities'

“This trend represents a growing opportunity for high-quality meat alternatives, which is also being reflected in the 24% average annual growth in global meat substitute launches recorded between 2011 and 2015,” said Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights.

Globally, the US lags behind some other countries with 38% of consumers to eat meatless meals once a week or more compared to Germany’s 68%. However, there are already 120 million Americans that eat meatless meals, offering a sizeable market opportunity to reach a wide audience.

Innova will present key trends on harnessing the flexitarian consumer at the IFT 2016 Taste the Trend pavilion in Chicago (booth #2884). A 20-minute preview webinar on 'The Flexitarian Effect' will take place on July 13, 2016 at 9am EST.

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