Research estimates that 60% of global consumers eat plant-based meals at least once a week. In Australia, two in five consumers report taking active steps to reduce their meat consumption.
Unsurprisingly, we're seeing significant growth in the vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian markets. Understanding the modern plant-based consumer and what drives their adoption of plant-based diets has never been more critical for those in retail and product development.
The modern vegan or plant-based consumer looks beyond what’s on their plate to encompass cruelty-free skincare, personal care, snacks and more. Discover the trends and products shaping consumer shopping baskets.
There is an element of plant curiosity that is driving the uptick in plant-based eating. 41% of consumers report trying plant-based alternatives because they want something new. Consumers are more adventurous than before, seeking new flavours and ingredients to enhance their diet and lifestyle.
This is resulting in huge growth in plant-based markets, like chocolate, where the plant-based chocolate market is set to outperform demand for traditional chocolate.
Naked Chocolate Co. sources the finest ingredients to create decadent chocolate treats that are gluten free and vegan friendly. The chocolate-coated freeze-dried fruits contain 100% real fruit pieces coated with premium Belgian dark and white chocolate.
Vego is a household name for vegan chocolate lovers around the world, known for crafting indulgent chocolate bars from high-quality ingredients. The range is vegan, organic and fair trade.
According to consumer research, the most common reason people follow a plant-based diet is that it makes them feel healthier. This is followed by digestive health and fitness.
Consumers demand new product development and a more significant proliferation of plant-based ingredients, with greater interest in sustainable protein crops.
Energy and snack bars from CLIF Bar tick those boxes with all plant-based ingredients and a priority on supported agriculture.
Healthy pantry staples are growing 15.1% YOY.* It is easier than ever before to make healthier and tastier plant-based choices, particularly when it comes to plant-based pantry staples.
Bragg Nutritional Yeast is a top-selling product that provides consumers with a nutritious plant-based alternative to cheese. It can be sprinkled on pasta, soups, popcorn, or even added to sauces as a thickener.
Food is only part of the picture of the vegan rise. More and more, Consumers are taking a values-based approach in their purchasing decisions with 60% of consumers preferencing ethical and sustainable products.
So much so that the vegan cosmetic market is expected to almost double in size by the year 2031.
Ethique functional beauty products are vegan, cruelty-free and packed with targeted formulations for proven results. The climate-positive brand uses regenerative productive methods and plastic-free packaging
According to the EAT-Lancet Commission report, healthy diets with more plant-based foods will be key to ensuring sustainable food systems and a healthier planet and people.
It's no surprise that we're seeing significant growth in the vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian markets. Understanding the modern plant-based consumer and what is driving their adoption of plant-based diets has never been more important for those in retail and product development.
Who is the plant-based consumer?
Research estimates that 60% of global consumers eat plant-based meals at least once a week.1 Other reports reveal that across the world, there are now more than 65% of consumers who are eating more plant-based food and beverages.2 In Australia, 45% of consumers are actively trying to reduce the number of animal products they eat.3
Despite this increase, there isn't one single definition of a plant-based consumer. Younger people (aged 15-44) are more likely to report that they are trying to follow a plant-based diet.4
According to 2021 consumer research, the most common reason people choose to follow a plant-based diet is that it makes them feel healthier. This is followed by digestive health and fitness. Environmental concerns and animal rights are the sixth and eighth most common reasons.5 This is consistent with other research findings that consumers are generally more focused on adopting healthier lifestyles for the long-term.6
The trends driving plant-based eating
It's important to understand why consumers opt for more flexitarian and plant-based diets. Having a good picture of the trends underpinning the shift is also important.
The simple answer is choice. It is easier than ever before to make healthier and tastier plant-based choices. Half of the Australian restaurants now cater to vegan diets.2 There is also significant innovation in plant-based meat and plant-based pantry staples.
In fact, consumers are demanding new product development and a greater proliferation of plant-based ingredients, with greater interest in areas such as sustainable protein crops.7
Interestingly, according to IRI, mentioning plant ingredients is more appealing to consumers than 'vegan' or 'vegetarian' labels. Packaging and promotions that call out that 'you're getting more plants, more nutrients' are the way forward.2
There is also an element of plant curiosity that is driving the uptick. 41% of consumers report having tried plant-based alternatives because they wanted to try something new.8 Consumers are more adventurous than in the past, seeking out new flavours and ingredients to enhance their diet and lifestyle.
Capitalising on the plant-based trend
Where to next? How can you make the most of the plant-based boom?
First, you must consider the brands you stock on your shelves. Consider some of these leading plant-based brands in your search:
- Energy and snack bars from CLIF Bar with all plant-based ingredients and a priority on supported agriculture.
- Vegan jerky from Noble Jerky with more than 14g of plant-based protein in each packet.
- A range of innovative protein powders, baking mixes and more from Macro Mike, which was founded with the vision of making the best-tasting vegan protein on the planet.
- Easy-to-use and minimally processed vegan sauce alternatives and the top-selling Mac 'n Cheez range from Plantasy Foods.
- Vegan chocolate and chocolate spreads from European chocolatier, Vego.
In the switch to plant-based eating, many consumers also consider their broader lifestyle habits. Adding plant-based home and self-care products, such as Ethique Solid Bars, the Koala Eco cleaning and personal care range or ACURE skincare, broadens your appeal to these consumers.
Cater to your plant-based customers
At Unique Health Products, we're proud to stock many of the leading plant-based brands from within Australia and abroad. We have the brands and products that plant-based consumers search for. You can purchase our range online 24/7, or call our friendly sales team on 1800 787 904. If you don't have a wholesale account with us yet, you can register for one here.
1. Innova Market Insights, 2021.
2. IRI, 2022.
3. Inside FMCG, 2022.
4. Euromonitor, 2021.
5. Euromonitor, 2021.
6. FMCG Gurus, 2022.
7. Innova Market Insights, 2021.
8. Specialty Food Association, 2020.