Claire Roper, Industry Expert and Plant Based World Expo Advisor, explores the latest trends that will be on display at the show and looks ahead at the future of the plant-based sector.
The Current Landscape
With more than a quarter of Brits aiming to reduce their meat intake, the plant-based food market has grown rapidly over the last five years. In fact, sales of meat and dairy-free alternatives have doubled, making plant-based one of the fastest growing categories in retail.
Whilst this trend isn’t new, the pandemic undoubtedly accelerated the move towards plant-based eating. COVID-19 prompted people to re-evaluate their priorities, with many taking steps to improve their health and live more sustainably. Reducing the intake of animal products offered a simple way to achieve both, with many households introducing meat-free days or cutting out certain meat and dairy products altogether.
Now that we’re emerging from the pandemic, the demand for plant-based foods is beginning to shift from retailers to the out-of-home market, where consumers are increasingly looking for delicious, nutritious, and varied plant-based meal options. As a result, the plant-based market is continuing to thrive, with new and innovative products launching every single day.
For those looking to discover the latest plant-based products all under one roof, Plant Based World Expo Europe returns to London Olympia on 30th November–1st December. The show will play host to over 150 exhibitors, from household names through to cutting-edge start-ups, which will display their latest innovations and tried and tested favourites.
For those looking for meat alternatives that don’t compromise on flavour, The Raging Pig Company will join the line-up with its pig-less bacon, Raging Bacon. The company is on a mission to remove pigs from our food system and, after years of development, it has finally cracked the code for pig-less bacon that looks, cooks, and tastes like bacon from the past. Currently only available in Germany and Sweden, Raging Bacon will launch to the rest of the European market at the show.
Also showcasing the latest in meat alternatives, Miami Foods will present its healthy take on plant-based products. The professional health-hackers take old favourites and redesign them to drastically reduce saturated fats and calories, without compromising on taste. Miami Foods will use the show to present its smoked streaky bacon rashers, classic burgers, and Louisiana Chick’n, as well as unveil some brand-new products for the very first time.
Plus, Barcelona based ‘meat successor’ brand Heura Foods will be revealing its new meat-free, centre-plate products, including its new gluten-free chick’n fillet burger, which is ideal for those with multiple dietary requirements.
The show will also welcome the latest in dairy-free innovation. For example, Hlthpunk will showcase its line of sustainable, organic, vegan mayos, featuring super clean ingredients. The product line-up includes Hlthpunk’s vegan oat-based mayo, Bionnaise Plant-Based Mayo, which has been dubbed ‘the best tasting mayo on the planet’.
Honestly Tasty will present its game-changing, plant-based alternatives to cheese, including its camembert alternative, the Shamembert. A finalist for the 2022 Plant-Based Taste Awards at Plant Based World Expo New York, the Shamembert is cultured so that it develops an authentic white rind aesthetic as well as a real depth of flavour.
Also showcasing cutting-edge cheese alternatives, Purezza, the UK’s first vegan pizzeria, will make its trade event debut at the show. The company will showcase its vegan mozzarella, which features on its award-winning pizzas and is now available for retail and food service professionals looking to create plant-based alternatives fit for pizza aficionados.
The quality and breadth of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives on display at the show is a fantastic representation of the incredible innovation taking place in this area of the industry right now. This is reflective of consumer demand, with plant-based eaters and those who are reducing their meat intake expecting choice and variety when it comes to plant-based options.
Manufacturers are also placing a firmer focus than ever on the taste of products. Just like the plant-based innovators on display at the show, we are seeing a trend across the board for plant-based foods that truly replicate the experience of meat-eaters so that those opting to avoid animal products don’t feel as though they’re missing out. For example, those making a burger at home, or ordering one in a restaurant now expect to have a choice of patty and for it to include cheese and a range of sauces. As a result, the mayo and wider sauce category is one of the biggest growth areas in the market right now, with dozens of cutting-edge, delicious plant-based options bursting onto the scene.
Creating plant-based restaurant experiences to cater for all foodies, including plant-based eaters and flexitarians, without compromising on flavour or choice is another growing trend in the market. Purezza is a perfect example of the incredible plant-based eateries that are providing great-tasting foods that happen to be vegan. Plus, with brands like Heura creating plant-based foods that also cater for other allergens, such as gluten, we are seeing a shift towards a more inclusive approach to food. Brands are increasingly creating great-tasting products that are suitable for everyone to enjoy without compromise, both in and out of the home.
Clearly, it’s an incredibly exciting time for the plant-based industry. Caterers are no longer championing the bland, mushy, veggie burgers that we might have once expected to see on menus. Instead, they are working with manufacturers who are pushing boundaries to create taste-first, innovative meat and dairy alternatives that meat-eaters and non-meat eaters alike will enjoy eating. Moving forward, I expect to see other categories, such as the snack and fine-dining markets, following suit as brands find new ways to delight customers.
For further information, or to register, visit http://www.plantbasedworldeurope.com/