Plant-Based Gets Creative: Innovations Explored in New Report

by Heather

Plant-Based Gets Creative: Innovations Explored in New Report

InsightsNow recently released our second annual Naturally Trending™ Food & Beverage Report, covering the Top Five Trends we discovered by canvassing the 3,100+ booths at the renowned recent Natural Products Expo West (NPEW) conference. We’ve already talked about how Taste is King. Here we discuss the second trend we report on: “Diversification of Plant-Based Applications.”


Trend Two: Plant-Based Trends

One thing is always prominent at NPEW (Natural Products Expo West) and that’s plant-based products. This year’s show was no exception with lots of plant-based alternatives from dairy-free cheeses to incredibly realistic meat and seafood analogues. We found an incredible amount of diversification in this category, which we discuss in our report.


Plant-Based Challenges

Plant-based products dominated at Natural Products Expo West, with more than 30% of the companies we met with showcasing their plant-based offerings. Despite clear popularity and market growth, emerging plant-based foods encounter challenges in claims, ingredients, positioning, pricing and taste in a competitive market. Flexitarians have the fallback option of animal-based products if plant-based alternatives don’t meet their expectations. Brands are taking risks and diversifying their products to stay competitive. The marketplace moves swiftly, demanding brands to stay proactive to maintain their edge—and use market research to understand where and how to innovate for the greatest consumer resonance.


Using Market Research for Plant-Based Products

We learned how some of these companies are using market research to help with the improvement of existing products and the creation of brand-new plant-based offerings. For example, Crafty Counter identified a gap in the plant-based category while creating Wundereggs®—and gathered customer feedback using innovative methods like sampling events, popups, chef and caterer testing, and more. And Planet Based Foods™ told us they combine thorough research and development to craft innovative and delicious plant-based products. By prioritizing customer input, incorporating taste, flavor, and texture studies through iterative development, the company ensures their new products meet consumer needs and preferences.


Featured Products in our Report

Download the Naturally Trending™ Food & Beverage Report to see what innovative plant-based products caught our eye at NPEW. It was hard to narrow the list down! Some of the products included in our report: plant-based sushi from Konscious™, ice cream and hemp burgers from Planet Based Foods™, plant-based lunch “meats” from Gourmet Evolution™, and more!


Plant-Based Will Continue Growth Trajectory

This growing plant-based movement is gaining more momentum and variety as consumers increasingly look for cleaner, healthier, and sustainable options. This demand for clean labels and sustainability fuels the growth of plant-based innovation. Plant-based food is no longer really confined to a separate category; it has become ubiquitous and is undoubtedly here to stay. Are you ready to innovate?