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Understanding the Modern Plant-based Consumer

Understanding plant-based consumers

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 then that we’re seeing a 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 amount 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.

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 respectively.5 This is consistent with other research findings that consumers are generally more focused on adopting healthier lifestyles for the long-term.6

It’s important to understand why consumers are opting for more flexitarian and plant-based diets. It’s also important to have a good picture of the trends underpinning the shift.

The simple answer is choice. It is easier than ever before to make healthier and tastier plant-based choices. Half of 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, it’s the mention of plant ingredients that is more appealing to consumers than ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian’ labels. Packaging and promotions that callout 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. 

Top-selling plant-based products

Capitalising on the plant-based trend

Where to next? How can you make the most of the plant-based boom?

First, you need to 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, both from within Australia and abroad. We have hundreds of brands and thousands of products that plant-based consumers are searching 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.

Sources:

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.

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