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Green eating driving plant-based innovation, says data analyst

Plant-based innovation is flourishing, thanks to continued consumer interest in health, sustainability and ethics.

That’s the finding of the latest Innova Market Insights report, which reveals a 62% increase in in plant-based product claims (between 2013 and 2017) with growth occurring across a range of products from plant proteins, active botanicals and sweeteners, to herbs and seasonings, and colouring foodstuffs.

“The dairy alternatives market has been a particular beneficiary of this trend,” says Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights. “And that’s thanks to the growing availability and promotion of plant-based options to traditional dairy lines, specifically milk beverages, and cultured products such as yogurt, frozen desserts and ice cream.”

The dairy alternatives category was largely pioneered by and continues to be led by beverages, with global sales of dairy alternative drinks accounting for more than 8 per cent of global dairy launches in 2017 – up from 7% the previous year.

Research also shows that four in ten US consumers increased their consumption of meat substitutes and alternatives during 2017.

“In the move to offer something new, we are starting to see an increasing variety of non-soy plant-based ingredients, including cereals such as rice, oats and barley,” adds Williams. “We’ve also noticed an increase in nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts and macadamias, as well as coconut and more unusual options such as lupin, hemp and flaxseed.”

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