Plant-Based Foods Are on the Rise for a Healthy Lifestyle
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Plant-Based Foods Are on the Rise for a Healthy Lifestyle

New research reveals that 75 percent of consumers in the U.S. are interested in plant-based eating.

By Carol Fitzgerald, CEO and founder at buzzback

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The popularity of plant-based foods is on the rise. According to new research from innovation insight agency buzzback, 75 percent of U.S. consumers are interested in products made with plant-based ingredients. When it comes to picking out groceries, we’re spoilt for choice. So, why have plant-based products been attracting so much interest in the last few years?

At buzzback, we wanted to find out how much people know about this trend, what are their favorite ingredients and why they’re choosing plant-based instead of other food. So, we asked 1,400 consumers in the U.S. and U.K. to talk to us about plant-based items.

According to our research, health is the main reason to choose plant-based foods, with 73 percent of people in the U.S. saying that they tried it because they were looking for healthier options, plus over 30 percent followed recommendations from family or friends. Over 70 percent also feel healthier when consuming plant-based products and 55 percent have been favorably impressed by the “great taste and texture” of plant-based products.

One respondent told us: “Plant-based proteins supply my body with the nutrition needed to fuel my daily activity. They contain all the things my body needs without the extra calories, cholesterol and other bad things. They also are much easier to digest and process”.

“I have reduced my meat intake and replaced it with plant-based proteins to support a healthier lifestyle” said another. “I have been reading studies about how meat, especially red, can play a big factor in things like obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol and blood pressure. I want to avoid those problems before they happen.”

According to buzzback research, meat and milk substitutes are the most popular plant-based products in the U.S., with 69 percent of people having tried a meat substitute and 69 percent also having tried a milk substitute. Within these categories, tofu and beans are the most popular meat alternatives, with almond and soy milk proving the most popular milk alternatives.

Among products survey respondents have tried or heard of, more than half said substitute milk products such as oat, coconut, soy and about 9 in 10 for almond milk:

Plant-based milk substitutes

Have tried
Almond 93%
Soy 63%
Coconut 66%
Cashew 38%
Oat 32%

Meat substitute awareness and trial is also popular, with half or more of respondents having heard of or tried tofu, beans and Beyond Meat: 

Plant-based meat substitutes Have tried
Beans 67%
Beyond Meat 67%
Tofu 65%
Portobello mushrooms 47%
Tempeh 16%

While plant-based products naturally cue dairy alternatives and meat substitutes, 6 in 10 consumers are also interested in other plant-based categories, suggesting new opportunities for brands looking to innovate and meet consumer needs in new ways: 

Additional Plant-based categories Would consider purchasing
Shampoo/conditioner 56%
Skin care 56%
Savory snacks 54%

Our research shows us that plant-based foods are only going to grow in importance as consumers become more aware of their value as part of a healthy lifestyle.

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