11-Nov-2021 - Innova Market Insights

Choice and price key to continued boom in plant-based foods

New Europe-wide consumer research from Innova Market Insights has highlighted the strength and breadth of demand for new plant-based food and beverage products. Among flexitarians (those who usually but not exclusively follow vegetarian or vegan diets), trust in the safety of plant-based products is high, but concerns remain over cost and limited choice. Innova’s research does, however, show a widespread desire among European consumers of all types to sample more plant-based alternatives across a range of products.

As part of the EU-funded Smart Protein project – and working alongside ProVeg International, the University of Copenhagen and Ghent University – Innova Market Insights surveyed thousands of consumers across 10 countries¹ to uncover their up-to-date views on plant-based products. As well as discussing their current and intended eating habits, respondents were asked about their trust in plant-based products, the choice available and how they would like to see the sector develop.

Almost half of all respondents² said they had already reduced their meat consumption significantly, with just under 40% saying they intended to do so in the near future. Additionally, around three in 10 plan to reduce dairy consumption, with a similar number stating a desire to consume “substantially more” plant-based dairy and meat alternatives.

There are high levels of trust in the safety of plant-based foods among flexitarians, with 60% believing such products are accurately labelled. Around half the flexitarian respondents think there is not enough choice of plant-based products in supermarkets or restaurants, while they perceive the available alternatives to be generally too expensive. However, consumers expressed a desire for a greater availability and range of plant-based poultry, beef, salmon, tuna and cheese offerings.

Innova Market Insights has tracked the rise in plant-based food and beverages for many years, as reflected in its annual Top Ten Trends. The company’s 2020 global consumer survey revealed a desire for tasty plant-based products which increased variety in their diets while addressing concerns around health and sustainability. Since then, and as confirmed by the latest survey, consumers are increasingly willing to accept and seek out alternatives across a wider range of products and occasions. One of Innova’s Top Ten Trends for 2022 – Plant-Based: The Canvas for Innovation – highlights the opportunities for the sector to branch out into all product forms from convenience foods to gastronomy.

The European survey for the Smart Protein project revealed taste and healthiness are still the biggest purchase drivers – particularly for flexitarians – when it comes to plant-based foods, with freshness, a lack of additives and lower prices all important considerations which could be key to how far this sector continues to grow. Innovations in source proteins and finished offerings can address a clear demand for more plant-based food and beverages across Europe.

¹ More than 7,500 respondents spread across Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain and United Kingdom.

² 46% of respondents agreed their meat consumption had reduced significantly.

Facts, background information, dossiers
  • flexitarians
  • meat alternatives
  • proteins
  • plant-based food
  • plant-based foods
  • plant-based proteins
More about Innova Market Insights
  • News

    Gen Z drive demand for alcohol reduction

    Avoidance of alcohol is becoming the norm for a growing minority of consumers around the world. While this trend is seen across all age groups, it is most apparent in Generation Z, with as many as a third of consumers aged 18-25 now saying that they never consume alcohol. This trend is crea ... more

    Evolving consumer demands drive innovation in plant-based eating

    The irresistible rise of plant-based eating has been charted in Innova’s Top Ten Trends for several years now. In 2021, our Plant-Forward trend signaled the progressive nature of the movement as it pushes into the mainstream and expands into new categories and regions. Innova’s comprehensiv ... more

  • Companies

    Innova Market Insights

    The Innova Database is an online, cutting-edge food and beverage product database – created by a dedicated team of industry-leading food and beverage experts that collect the latest data from more than 70 countries. This allows you to instantly track the latest and greatest food and beverag ... more