Veganuary is gaining momentum in the US – shining a spotlight on areas ripe for plant-based innovation

Since launching Veganuary in England and Wales in January 2014 with a mission to inspire more people to try vegan for January and beyond, the nonprofit has seen its event grow exponentially. annual event worldwide with attendance reaching over 582,000 people in 209 countries and territories in 2021 – a record number that greatly exceeded the 400,000 who attended in 2020.

Entering its third year in the United States, the non-profit organization reports that a YouGov survey found that 32% of Americans plan to eat more plant-based and vegan foods in the new year and 30% say their perception of a vegan diet has improved in the past two years since Veganuary challenged Americans to go vegan in January 2020.

Based on information from last year’s challenge, most participants (74%) are not yet following a plant-based diet when they engage in Veganuary. In fact, last year only 12% identified as vegan and 24% as vegetarian. But after taking the challenge, 40% said they planned to stay vegan and 75% of those who weren’t planning on eating all plant-based all the time said they planned to halve their intake. animal products in the future and 75% were very or extremely likely to try vegan again in the future.

As consumer interest in plant-based eating gains momentum thanks in part to Veganuary’s efforts to raise awareness, promote plant-based products, and share vegan recipes, the nonprofit recognizes that challenges remain. According to the YouGov survey, 31% of Americans are interested in following a vegan diet, but have “Reservations,”including 13% who fear they won’t be able to stick to it, 10% who worry about affordability, and 9% who want more meal plans and recipes.

A follow-up survey of participants last year also revealed some of the biggest pain points for people around the world who try an all-plant diet. For example, when asked which non-vegan product they missed the most during Veganuary, 41% cited cheese, 14% eggs, 9% fish, 9% milk chocolate, 7% chicken, and 5% milk.

Among these challenges, sustainability-focused social e-commerce platform abillion and market research firm Mintel see significant potential for innovation and expanded distribution of plant-based eggs, fish and milk, among other areas.

Egg substitutes expected to hit $1.5 billion by 2026

Based on analysis of over one million vegan and sustainable product reviews, abillion says vegan eggs are poised to take things to the next level in 2022 with a host of liquid and egg substitutes. powders that have entered the market in recent years.

“All signs point to the plant-based egg industry embarking on a similar trajectory to alternative meat in its early stages of product innovation,”A billion ratings in a recently released 2022 trend report.

He calls JUST’s plant-based liquid eggs as having garnered over 700 reviews on the abillion app, followed by powdered alternatives like Orgran and Bob’s Red Mill.

“The only other notable liquid egg contender is Crack’d, which launched its cold-pressed egg substitute in late 2020 and has made inroads into the UK market where JUST is currently not available,”he notes.

Seafood alternatives go beyond tuna and salmon

Although still relatively niche, plant-based seafood is another category poised for significant growth in 2022, according to Mintel and abillion.

“In recent years, innovation in meat alternatives has largely focused on alternatives to red and white meat, while alternatives to seafood have remained fairly niche. However, product innovation the herbal sea has recently accelerated,”With a variety of companies launching animal-free tuna and lox, Mintel’s global food and beverage analyst Dasha Shor notes in a recent blog post on the research firm’s site.

Shor says consumers are drawn to plant-based seafood because it helps them avoid environmental and ethical issues, like overfishing, as well as environmental pollution. Fish substitutes are also often considered less intimidating, more convenient and easier to prepare.

“In the future, plant-based seafood products may also find a niche mimicking rare, endangered or more difficult and expensive species to collect, clean and transport – such as sea urchin, bluefin tuna , sturgeon or fish eggs”,writes Shor.

According to Abillion, since 2020, reviews of its app for ocean-friendly alternatives have increased 9.4 times, with significant growth in the UK, Spain and Argentina. He also singled out Asia-Pacific as the region with the most immediate growth potential.

“Oat milk will replace cow’s milk in color and variety”

Oat milk has become a darling in the non-dairy milk category with sales up $117 million in the eight months to August 2021, IRI data shows, but Mintel sees potential important beyond oats.

“The next plant-based milk will have sustainability at its core,”Ophélie Buchet, global food and beverage analyst at Mintel, writes in a blog post on the research firm’s site. “Consumers are switching from dairy milks to plant-based milks because of their environmental qualities, above taste and price. This is especially true for young consumers, who consume less animal protein primarily to help the environment.

As such, Buchet sees the potential for potato milk to replace oats as a more sustainable dairy-free alternative – even though the ingredient currently accounts for less than 0.2% of launches in the space. .

“High-profile launches like DUG’s potato drink could boost interest in the plant-based ingredient,”Buchet writes, noting that the brand points out that potatoes are twice as land efficient as oats and have similar carbon and water footprints.

While sustainability is important, so is taste, which a billion people believe will help all plant-based dairy products thrive in 2022.

“Reviews on our platform for the caramel, chai, matcha and banana flavored versions of the drink have increased by more than 100%. Consumption of chocolate and vanilla flavors continues to grow at a steady rate of 84% and 89% respectively in 2021, compared to 2020,”a billion banknotes.

Eating out remains an obstacle for vegans

As CPG innovations make it easier for people to follow plant-based diets at home, Veganuary found that eating out was the biggest challenge for 15% of participants last year, presenting an opportunity for more restaurants to expand their plant-based offerings.

Responding to this call, abillion predicts that fast food chains will have a greater impact on reducing animal consumption in 2022.

“Vegan versions of fast food have been around for a long time, but it’s only when massive chains like McDonald’s and Burger King jump on the bandwagon that a real impact can be felt. On the one hand, these global QSRs cater to the masses and make plant-based versions of their products – often burgers – available to more people,”a billion banknotes.

He adds that 54% of respondents to a Piplsay survey who had heard of plant-based options at fast food restaurants had tried it. Of these, 72% identified themselves as meat eaters, underscoring that the sales potential goes far beyond niche groups.

Other categories ready to be disrupted

Beyond these, abillion sees significant potential for plant-based alternatives to milk chocolate, a category he says he sees big chocolate makers and local brands entering with versions made with oats, coconut , almond and rice.

On the savory side, Mintel predicts that “snackification” of meals could “unlock new eating opportunities”​ for meat alternatives targeting flexitarians.

About Walter Bartholomew

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