Now more than ever, consumers are looking for better-quality foods that deliver superior nutrition and provide them with an ever-widening variety of options. More recently, many retailers have increased the range of meat-free options; however, there are still some limitations. Mainly, meat analogue options such as burgers and sausages are at the heart of many plant-based offerings.
Yet, there is no denying that the conversation has transitioned to the importance of quality and choice in the current climate, encouraging creativity, innovation, and culinary freedom. Diversity is steadily becoming the dominant feature of today's burgeoning plant-based food industry, ensuring consumers have a more comprehensive array of nutritious options than ever before. Now, a new generation of brands is driving forward more nuanced and inspiring conversations about how to cater to the varying tastes and lifestyles of the vegan market and for flexitarians and conscious carnivores.
Achieving meat-like textures and tastes
The focus for chefs and food innovators is on expanding the meat-free conversation by introducing increasingly broader food options—the next generation of plant-based foods. By examining what consumers are looking for and what holds them back from balancing a plant-based diet, innovators are increasingly experimenting to cater to these needs. Through a blend of compelling sensorial experiences, chefs and plant-based brands can work collaboratively to revolutionise what it means to make plant-based food accessibly diverse.
These days, the focus is as much on good taste, replicating the actual experience as it is on a diversity of choice. By working together with chefs and consumers, brands like Hungry Planet are employing creative ways to drive the increasingly diverse plant-based industry forward with their innovative and diverse range of meat substitutes, mimicking everything from chorizo to crab. The aim is to make switching or trying a flexible plant-based lifestyle as straightforward as possible.
What's more, plant-based food producers such as New Wave Foods, which specialises in plant-based seafood, have tapped into the values that consumers care about, like sustainable sourcing and preserving our marine life. Communicating this purpose-driven messaging is an integral and essential part of their brand story, considering plant-based seafood is still an ample white space to be tapped into.
New technology and techniques
An evolution of plant-based culinary creations is emerging through experimental techniques. Brands are finding ways to innovate and provide more replicable options, broadening the choices for home consumption. New and unique pioneering techniques are replicating the fibre textures found in meat.
Building on from 3D printing and lab-grown techniques, new technologies such as the Meat-o-Matic Reverse Grinder 9000 developed by Juicy Marbles provides a first-time replicable taste experience. The Slovenian start-up has created the first filet mignon steaks made from plants marbled with sunflower oil.
Brand innovators shape the experiences consumers are looking for, leading to more open culinary conversations with consumers. We're seeing a rise of brands like the Israeli company Redefine Meat, who have developed their propriety technology, to the likes of The Very Good Butchers and Juicy Marbles all going up against 'meat' directly. Each presents a varied line of raw and unseasoned plant-based meats, creating a sense of heritage and authenticity to what is otherwise a very new industry.
What does the future hold for plant-based foods?
Food technologists are looking ahead into the next generation of plant-based, driving desire amongst consumers for greater diversity in plant-based options. They are pushing the boundaries to diversify the market into one that can offer consumers a greater choice volume. Brands like New Wave Foods, Juicy Marbles and many others will continue to reshape how plant-based foods are created.
This once in a generation opportunity is much bigger than meat analogues to revive and unlock the food category. It is likely to be increasingly reflected on retailers' shelves in the near future, with a broader choice of better-quality raw plant-based foods that provide consumers with higher nutrition levels.
At DEFY//, we have a passion for purposeful brands that captivate, engage, and inspire with every interaction. If you're looking to innovate and stand out from the crowd, get in touch with us and let's get the world excited about your brand.