- ShelfLife magazine
With a growing number of people embracing the health benefits of a plant-based diet, albeit that many of them may not be strict full-time vegetarians, it’s certainly worth exploring the popular options meeting their demands. Here, we detail the biggest trends and key innovations driving sales within the category
22 May 2023
Today, many consumers are interested in pursuing a vegetarian diet – whether on a ‘flexitarian’ or full-time basis – alternative proteins allow health-conscious consumers to pursue their nutritional goals without having to sacrifice on flavour.
A Bord Bia survey from 2021 found that 8% of Irish people were vegetarian, and 16% adhere to a flexitarian diet. Meanwhile, a Euromonitor study from the same year found that 23% of consumers globally say they are trying to limit their meat intake.
Health concerns are a top motivator as 37% of those who eat plant-based meat alternatives say they do so to feel healthier. With more consumers than ever before looking for healthier and more sustainable alternatives to meat, a growing number of companies are entering this space.
Showing the extent to which a growing number of consumers have embraced plant-based options, a 2022 UK survey* showed a record number of people will be enjoying a completely plant-based Christmas lunch this year in an attempt to go green,
withveganandvegetarianoptions replacing a traditional roast dinner in as many as 5.1 million homes.Of the 2,000 polled byTreedom, one in three (29%) were ditching meat because it is better for the environment, while a quarter (28%) believe the traditional turkey lunch could soon go out of fashion, as the nation adopts a more sustainable attitude. A quarter (23%) were planning to have a classic nut roast or a pasta dish.
Food Matters Live last year reported on five plant-based food trends and innovations for 2022. These were listed as ‘new proteins from vegetables’, ‘plant-based fish’, ‘vegan cheese’, ‘egg substitutes’ and ‘plant-based confectionery and baked goods’. On the subject of vegan cheese, author Stef Bottinelli reported that a survey on the plant-based food market bySmart Proteinfound that the sale value of plant-based cheese in the UK was up by 165% in 2020, whilst its volume by 154%. With so many opportunities for growth, 2022 would see more plant-based cheese products on the market, she added. Indeed,a recent survey by Fact.MRstated that the dairy-free cheese market was expected to be worth around $924.4m in 2022 and $3.9bn by 2031.
*(Source: Researchof 2,000 people in the UK was commissioned by Treedom and conducted byPerspectus Globalduring December 2022)
New look, same plant-based yumminess!
For 40 years, Alpro has been leading the food revolution making plant-based a tasty choice for all those plant-based lovers. Now, the time has come to show the world what Alpro stands for, and in doing so, the brand has redesigned its look to help your customers to sift through the noise, to get the right product to suit their needs.
With clearly identifiable ingredients on-pack highlighting individual characteristics, it’s hard to miss the one that suits every shopper’s needs. Whether they opt for a Nutty Almond, a Creamy Oat or a No Sugars Soya variety, Alpro is dedicated to great taste and meeting the needs of all its customers.
Alpro is also going bold on its plant-based alternative to yogurt offering, with fruit front and centre allowing everyone to add a Cherry to a breakfast or snack, a Peach mid-morning and end the day with a Blueberry treat.
Starting from May, Alpro’s newly designed and impressive packaging can be discovered at all leading retailers.
Here’s to the plant-based future with even more irresistibly tasty foods!
Ideal sustainable packaging solution
Waddington Europe, aNovolex brand, is a premier European food packaging specialist. With a key manufacturing site in Arklow, Waddington Europe is a leading supplier of food packaging for a variety of sectors, including bakery, dairy, produce, food-to-go, desserts, protein, pet food and a lot more.
Waddington Europe’s Eco Blend Pura rPET packaging products are ideal for safe, lightweight, and hygienic packaging of plant-based products, such as the plant-based sausages and burgers shown
Waddington Europe Arklow helps customers meet their own environmental commitments by offering high-recycled content and lower carbon footprint products. The company works to drive sustainability into its food packaging products by designing for recyclability and continually working to reduce the amount of material used in products through the use of post-consumer waste materials and downgauging, respectively.
For example, Waddington Europe manufactures Eco Blend Pura, a premium range of 100% rPET (recycled PET) trays that are also recyclable. Made entirely from food-grade recycled post-consumer plastic waste, these products demonstrate circularity in action, keeping plastic out of landfills and turning discarded bottles, pots and tubs into new food trays. By teaming up with Shabra, Ireland’s leading recycler and reprocessor of post-consumer waste, Waddington Europe has access to a local supply of 100% recycled plastic.
In addition to responding to consumer awareness and purchasing habits that are increasingly attuned to the environmental impacts of packaging, the Eco Blend Pura rPET packaging products are ideal for safe, lightweight, and hygienic packaging of plant-based products. These features combine to extend shelf life and reduce the risk of food waste, while requiring 70% less energy to manufacture than virgin plastic production, yet still maintaining quality and performance.
For more information, visit www.waddingtoneurope.com.
*(Source: 2018-APR-LCI-report.pdf – plasticsrecycling.org)
Mega melty new plant-based cheese
Galway-based Sons of Butchers, the fourth-generation master butchers turned plant-based foodie masterminds, have just launched a new plant-based cheese range.
These sons of butchers swapped herds for herbs in 2021 and developed a range of plant-based meat alternatives. The new plant-based cheese range, featuring ‘punily’ titled Chedda Cheats slices and grated Notzarella, has been designed to complement and enhance the group’s current top-selling plant-based meat alternative ranges.
The new products are perfect for vegans and anyone looking to reduce their dairy intake without sacrificing the taste and texture of traditional cheeses. Chedda Cheats and Notzarella are wholly plant-based vegan cheddar style cheese(s), which are free from lactose and dairy, and suitable for both veggies and vegans. These mega melty treats are proudly made in Ireland.
With the same classic creamy texture and delicate taste found with traditional cheddar, Sons of Butchers Chedda Cheat slices melt perfectly on toasted sandwiches and burgers. Specially formulated with a blend of coconut and shea oil, these convenient cheddar-style slices are free from dairy, soy, and gluten.
Notzarella is a grated mozzarella-style cheese that is perfect for topping off pizzas, pasta dishes or adding to salads. Also made with a blend of shea and coconut oil, Notzarella is free from dairy, soy, and gluten.
Chedda Cheats and Notzarella are crafted with care and attention to detail to ensure a delicious and authentic taste that cheese lovers will enjoy. Both products are a great choice for vegan diets or anyone looking to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet.
“At Sons of Butchers, we have really enjoyed experimenting and innovating to create plant-based meat alternatives and a natural extension to this was to explore dairy-alternatives,” says Sons of Butchers’ director of production Eoin Loughnane.
“When we developed Chedda Cheats and Notzarella, we wanted to ensure that we had the right flavour profile, texture and meltability that is integral to cheese. It is a truly versatile product that can be used just like traditional cheese,” he continues.
“We are very excited to be launching our new cheeses, with lots more exciting new dairy-free, plant-based alternative products and ranges coming in the near future – watch this space!”
Sons of Butchers Chedda Cheats and Notzarella are now stocked in select Tesco and Dunnes Stores retailers both instore and online.
For more information about Sons of Butchers and its new plant-based cheese products, visit @sonsofbutchers_ Instagram page, the brand’s new TikTok channel @sonsofbutchers orsonsofbutchers.ie.
Wholesome clean vegetarian choice
Bombay style street food brand, Vada Pow is ready to stir up the market with its NPD which delivers cleanvegetarian wholesome good food which is not a replica of meat products. Ideal for the frozen cabinet, the Vada Pow brand is now launching three tasty new 14-allergen free products; namely, Chickpea & Potato Burgers, Potato & Lentil Nuggets and Potato & Veg Bites.
As shoppers increasingly seek cleaner labels, these new products are ideal for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian customers. As analyst Mintel states: “The desire for healthier and “cleaner” lifestyles is motivating consumers towards a more plant-based/vegetarian diet.” What’s more, Vada Pow products have also won Free From Awards.
A further key advantage of the Vada Pow range is that many other products cannot claim to be 14-allergen free.
Thankful for the flavours!
Whether your shoppers are vegetarian, flexitarian or looking for an alternative source of protein, Thanks Plants has got everyone covered. The Thanks Plants team is passionate about plant-based, vegan cooking, and wanted to come up with a product that was wholesome and flavourful.
Thanks Plants’ range started with three types of sausages – Apple & Sage, Sundried Tomato & Herb and The Frankfurter – made from a simple mix of seitan flour (a high protein flour), cannellini beans, vegetables and spices. The range has now expanded to include Chipotle Salsa Sausages, NoMoooo Burger, Everyday Roast and the seasonal Festive Roast.
All products are handmade in a professional kitchen in Dublin by Aisling Cullen and her team.
Thanks Plants products are proudly stocked in over 300 Irish stores, including SuperValu and Tesco nationwide, independent stores such as Nourish, Fresh, Lotts & Co, Nolans of Clontarf, Ardkeen, Dublin Food Coop and select Spar stores in Dublin. Check out www.thanksplants.co/stockists/ for more stockists.
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