The produce industry wants in on the plant-based trend, so what follows is a look at which shopper segments are using plant-based protein, followed by a snapshot of how the volume of hashtags related to the plant-based movement compares to those of other food buzzwords, from healthy to organic to local.
The Food and Marketing Institute mentioned vegetable protein in its latest Power of Produce report, noting that 73% percent of consumers sometimes serve vegetable protein instead of animal protein. Not surprisingly, millennials and Gen Z lead the pack.
Among those groups, 83% occasionally use plant-based protein, compared to only 59% of boomers, according to the report.
Income is another factor that affects inclination toward plant-based protein, with 80% of households making $75,000 or more using it, versus 63% of households making $35,000 or less.
Including plant-based protein is also more common in households with children — 81% compared to 66% in households without kids at home, per FMI.
Additionally, integrating plant-based protein is popular among shoppers who engage in other produce department trends, including those who buy organic (86% use plant protein at least occasionally), those who buy local produce (85%), and those who buy produce online (86%).
“Leveraging nutrition attributes, including protein, is another important way for category growth,” FMI wrote in its report. “Protein is one of the most popular nutrition-related callouts across the entire store. The move to more of a flexitarian lifestyle has resulted in the rise of plant-based protein as an occasional alternative to meat protein, as evidenced by the survey data as well as retail measurement data.
“Nielsen found that plant-based meat alternatives have seen 20% growth over the past year, with sales topping $3.3 billion,” FMI wrote.
The plant-based movement is easy to identify on Instagram, where millions of posts include hashtags related to the eating style.
- Ashley Nickle, The Packer
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