Both dairy and meat plant-based alternatives are forecast to grow through 2024, driven almost entirely by Millennials and Gen Zs, who are selecting these products for better health and because of their interest in sustainability and animal welfare, according to a new report from The NPD Group.
Spurred by their deep-rooted values, these demographics’ choice of plant-based foods and beverages has enabled the category to keep growing during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when many consumers opted for comfort or more familiar foods. Approximately one in five adults said that they want more plant-based foods in their diets, and that number remained steady throughout 2020, NPD found in its recently released “The Future of Plant-based Snapshot: The Evolution of Plant-based Continues.”
Interest in plant-based dairy and meat alternatives by Gen Zs and Millennials reaches beyond burgers and almond milk to various meat, poultry or seafood analogs, flavor profiles and formats. For this reason, plant-based opportunities exist in the frozen, shelf-stable, indulgent and snack categories.
“As consumers continue to prepare more meals in the home and younger generations cook more, plant-based foods and ingredients will be a part of their repertoire,” said Darren Seifer, food industry analyst at Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD and co-author of the study. “In addition to providing a variety of plant-based foods and ingredients, food manufacturers should also focus efforts on Millennials and Gen Zs, since they will be driving the category’s growth. Their concerns for sustainability and animal welfare should also be taken into account when messaging to them.”