GlobalData: Taste and Sensory Innovations Essential in Meat-free Landscape

American consumers today are more aware of the impact of their choices on the environment, influenced by celebrity activism on healthy eating, animal rights, and sustainability. This, in turn, fuels their desire to make better purchasing decisions, and food often represents the first area they can control.

Plant-based alternatives are therefore in demand, given their perceived ethical and sustainable nature, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

“Plant-based food and drinks are not only viewed as complying with specific dietary requirements but also as allowing consumers to be more mindful of their choices,” according to Meenakshi Haran, consumer lead analyst at GlobalData. “However, when it comes to meat, Americans are often put off by the taste and texture of alternatives, as corroborated by 68% of respondents in a GlobalData consumer survey+, signaling a gap in the market. Taking note of this potential for innovation in the underserved market for meat-based alternatives, Kraft Heinz through its joint venture with NotCo introduced its first alternative meat innovation: “The Oscar Mayer NotHotDogs and NotSausages”. Available in both Bratwurst and Italian flavors, the vegan alternatives are claimed to offer the savory and smoky experience, familiar to consumers of the Oscar Mayer brand of wieners, aligning the new product with sensory expectations.”

“Health is also a major influencer fueling the shift to meat-free alternatives, with 32% of US respondents considering plant-based alternatives to be healthier+ over their counterparts. As such, there is a growing tendency among Americans to prefer plant-based protein, which accounted for nearly a quarter of the total meat-substitutes market in the US,” Haran adds. “With 12% of Americans claiming to have vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, or low-meat diets+, the US market for meat-substitutes is expected to post a strong compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 14–16% over 2022–27^, suggesting the potential for companies to focus on innovations that align with consumer expectations.”

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