While the plant-based food market has a significant upside, these foods still face obstacles that manufacturers have struggled to overcome. Flavor houses specialize in helping food manufacturers overcome these common, and sometimes tricky, plant-based food challenges. Why is it so important to overcome these challenges?
“The first challenge is getting consumers to make the initial purchase,” said Anne Marie Butler, Global Director, Strategic Territories at Edlong. The second challenge is getting them to continue to purchase that product. “So if something doesn’t taste good, people will sacrifice on nutrition sometimes, rather than sacrifice on taste,” she said.
A recent study backs that up: More than 4 out of 5 Americans said taste is an important factor, and 44% said they don’t like the way plant-based foods taste. Additional studies show that when consumers around the world cannot find tasty plant-based options, they stick with animal protein.
That’s why many plant-based food manufacturers strive to provide the same eating experience as the original food. Does that veggie burger look like a meat burger? Does it smell like it? Taste like it? Does it grill up or fry like one? And most importantly, when you take that first bite, does it feel like a meat burger feels in your mouth?
A long list of additives, however, creates a dilemma for the growing number of consumers who want the advantages plant-based foods offer, but are also seeking simpler labels with the products that they purchase.
Despite the many plant-based food challenges, manufacturers in the space have a significant opportunity to satisfy consumers, said Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation for Innova Market Insights. “Flexitarians present a significant area of growth for manufacturers,” noted Williams. “Our research found that while 33% of consumers preferred food from an animal source, 28% preferred a combination, 22% did not have a preference and 18% preferred plant-based only. This means that out of 100 people, nearly 70% would be open to plant-based products.”
Ready to learn more about how to overcome plant-based food challenges in your product? Make sure to download our full Filling the Plant-Based Food Plate e-book and, when you’re ready, reach out to our experts at Edlong to leverage their expertise in creating delicious plant-based products.