Interviews · Industry Insights · 11min read

#FoodInsights Webinar: Episode 2 - Key Insights

We have compiled the key insights from our second #FoodInsights episode on plant-based consumption below.

In this second episode, Alessandro Petrucciani (Managing Director, foodcircle) is joined by Marion Höchli (VP of European Business Development at Planted) and Bjorn Rasmussen (Head of Technical Sales, Food at Vestkorn). This unique trio of food industry pioneers discusses how the plant-based movement has pushed through and is establishing itself as the new norm.

Watch the full episode on YouTube or review the key insights below.


General Plant-Based Developments 

  • Today, plant-based eating is no longer a trend—it is a lifestyle!

  • Plant-based meats are increasingly replacing traditional meats. They can be manufactured using up to 50% less water and agricultural land and up to ⅔ fewer emissions than meats.

  • The quality of the products on the market today has improved drastically compared to what could be found on the market only a few years back.

  • There has been a stark increase in the general awareness about the importance of healthy foods, nutrition and climate change in recent years.

  • As flexitarianism continues to rise, so does the availability of more diverse and sustainable plant-based proteins. Consumers look to replace regular meats with meat analogues that have a similar taste and texture. Flexitarianism is currently the largest market that is being addressed by plant-based meat manufacturers.

  • Plant-based meat manufacturers everywhere are struggling to keep up with the rapidly growing demand.


European Plant-Based Market Landscape

  • The Western Europe Market (e.g. DACH, France, Spain and Italy)

    • This is the fastest developing plant-based market, but also the one with the longest decision lines. It has the highest demand for organic ingredients as well as the highest demand for short(er) ingredient lists.The German market, which is characterised by oat-based proteins, has focused on taste and texture. France and Denmark are leading the way in educating customers about nutrition with Nutriscore.

  • The Eastern European Market

    • Products in these countries tend to get onto the market faster because there are fewer structural barriers.


Factors Impacting Market Developments

  • Food Culture: A country that has a prominent fast-food culture, for example, is more likely to experience higher demand for plant-based burger meats. Similarly, countries in which meat plays a prominent part in traditional food culture are slower to adopt plant-based diets.

  • Product Appearance: Improvements in the shape of plant-based products make it easier for consumers to relate more to these new types of foods.

  • Product Taste: A strong R&D focus on getting these right to increase appeal with a wider consumer base. Companies, including Planted, understand that consumers will only purchase foods more than once if it is tasty.

  • Product Texture: Lengthy and detailed development of texturised proteins with a neutral colour and appearance allows companies to adapt them to their needs. 

  • Regionality: With the demand for regional foods on the rise, locally grown proteins, such as peas or oats, are in high demand.

  • Overall acceptance: Consumers are not yet ready for entirely ‘new’ plant-based proteins, which is why imitation meats are carving the way forward.

  • Other: Brands’ carbon footprints, use of healthy and natural ingredients, and mission and values are also playing prominent roles in how businesses are positioning themselves strategically in the market.


Emerging & Future Trends

  • Increased consumer confidence and trust in plant-based taste will foster growth.

  • The use of fermentation, umami and algae in plant-based proteins as well as fish analogues will help develop the category further and creat new flavour profiles.

  • The creation of plant-based dairy products, such as yoghurt, cheese and egg replacements will help establish plant-based eating in the mainstream.

  • Organic endemic proteins that differ from region to region will be increasingly cultivated in polycultures to improve biodiversity.

  • Plant proteins with minimal environmental impact and improved product life cycles will help maximise the industry's comprehensive sustainability efforts.

  • Nutriscore introductions will improve consumers’ awareness about nutrition.

  • Sugar and salt in ingredient formulas will be reduced due to regulations and health concerns.


Product Categories

  • As a result of its low price point, soy is currently the most popular plant-based protein at Vestkorn, but its prevalence is decreasing due to associated allergens, concerns over GMOs alongside other health and environmental challenges. Other protein ingredients in high demand include pea protein, lentils, fava beans, monk beans and chickpeas.


  • This is a lengthy process which involves careful decision-making due to the lack of flexibility—plant-based proteins are not easily interchangeable as they each create a unique taste and texture. To optimise receptiveness, Planted develops smaller volumes (prototypes) first, test these with their consumer base, and then develop the product(s) further with the help of this feedback.


  • Sourcing ingredients and products regionally allow for easy scalability (e.g. yellow peas in Europe). Collaboration with local partners allows brands to better grasp local markets.

Sign up for upcoming #FoodInsights webinars here.

Imagery: (1) Unsplash, (2) Planted, (3) Vestkorn via ghetty Images | Video: foodcircle's #FoodInsights - The New Norm: Plant-Based

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