Food Trends: Plant-Based Ingredients
If you don’t practice it, it’s likely you’ve heard of it, or one of it’s sub-trends. The stats are piling up:
- 31% of Americans now practice meat-free days.
- The number of vegans has increased six-fold (600%) in the US in the last 3 years.
- US non-dairy milk sales grew 61% over the last 5 years.
What are we talking about? The “plant-based” food movement!
What exactly is plant-based? A plant-based diet is a diet based on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, but with few or no animal products. Plant-based does not mean you are vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy. Rather, you are choosing more of your foods from plant sources. You can see its rise in trends such as “Meatless Mondays” and “#MilkFree” on social media.
More important than the definition of the diet is the description of the consumer of this diet. The plant-based diet has generally become popular with people who are very invested in their health and also care about the world’s sustainability and ergo, high-quality ingredients.
Indeed, a plant-based diet has been proven to help maintain a healthy weight and improve one’s overall health, including lowering rate of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. A recent study from DuPont Nutrition & Health found that 83% of U.S. consumers are eating more plant-based foods and they believe it makes them feel healthier. In 2016, total plant-based meat sales topped $606 million. Roughly 60% of respondents said switching to plant-based food was permanent, or they hoped it would be.
Plant-based is a welcome challenge to be more health-conscious, sustainable and to be a more innovative business. One of the most common questions from our foodservice customers this year, regardless of the channel, was how to incorporate our ingredients into their daily menu. We have some ideas about how to make this switch a little easier. Here at Copra, we’ve been on board with this movement from the beginning, since all our coconut ingredients are already naturally plant-based. In fact, our ingredients are perfect substitutes for meat, dairy and gluten, especially coconut meat, the texture and mild taste of which mimics meat or seafood and easily absorbs flavor. Here’s a few examples: