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Must-Know COVID-19 Plant-Based Consumer Impacts

October 26, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the global food and beverage industry on an unprecedented scale, mostly driven by changing consumer behaviors and demand. Keeping a pulse on industry trends is more important than ever for food producers, especially those in rapidly growing markets like plant-based and organics. According to the International Food Information Council’s (IFIC) 2020 Food & Health Survey, “85% of Americans have made at least some change in the food they eat or how they prepare it because of the COVID-19 pandemic.” COVID-19 plant-based consumer impacts are a must-know for food manufacturers and the food scientists who they count on to drive innovation in the marketplace.

COVID-19 Puts Increased Focus on Healthy Eating

In fact, “41% of consumers are prioritizing healthy eating as a result of the outbreak,” according to Mintel’s COVID-19’s Impact on US Consumer Report published in July 2020. Additionally, “Over 40% of consumers believe a product labeled as “plant-based” is healthier than other products even if they had the same Nutrition Facts Label,” according to the IFIC 2020 Food and Health Survey.

COVID-19 Plant-Based Consumer Impacts

Taste Still Reigns Supreme

“While consumers’ views on nutrition and healthy diets are varied, regardless of preferences, taste reigns supreme,” according to Mintel’s 2020 US Consumer Approach to Nutrition Report. The report revealed that “nearly 75% of consumers use taste as the primary guide in food choice.”

According to Mintel’s research, “Millennial and Gen Z consumers tend to consume less dairy and are exploring the dairy-alternative sector, but are also more focused on flavor when it comes to these plant-based products. Brands can increase the appeal of traditional dairy products with new and unique flavor innovations that speak to these adventurous consumers.”

COVID-19 Plant-Based Consumer Impacts Increase Demand for Plant-Based Dairy

So with COVID-19 driving more consumers to choose healthy foods, using taste as their primary reason for choosing one product over another, it only makes sense that an increase in demand for plant-based dairy products will follow… And the proof is in the pudding, literally, with the recent IFIC 2020 Food and Health Survey showing that “Approximately 24% of consumers say they are eating more plant-based dairy.”

So what does all this mean? Well, it’s simple. It is more important than ever for food producers and food manufacturers to choose the right flavor suppliers in creating healthy plant-based foods that deliver on high-quality tastes that their consumers not only expect but crave. See how Edlong, the team of dairy flavor experts that innovated in the plant-based dairy space before it was a trend, can help meet your plant-based needs today!