Arnhem, Netherlands—Innova Market Insights' 2020 Consumer Survey showed that consumers are prioritizing health, variety, sustainability and taste—leading them to consider plant-based foods. This year, the market researcher expects consumers to demand new products and extra sophistication under the plant-based umbrella.

Manufacturers have gotten the message. The use of plant-based claims for global food and beverage launches had a CAGR of 37% over the 2016 to 2020 period, Innova reported. Research in 2020 also indicated that six in ten consumers preferred plant-based claims when buying alternatives to meat and/or dairy.

Another trend Innova is seeing is manufacturers using a wider range of plant proteins like fava bean and hemp, on top of the more traditional rice, bean and potato proteins. Targeting the flexitarian market, the research showed opportunity in plant + animal protein blends. Innova's Consumer Survey indicates that 36% of global consumers would prefer a mix of plant and animal products, while 25% would prefer 100% plant-based options.
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“As consumers are powering up on plant protein, opportunities and challenges are attracting even more attention in the industry, particularly with regard to regional preferences and sustainability expectations," said Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights in a press release. "Key challenges for plant-based tend to be similar to those for the food industry as a whole, including the provision of clean label and sustainable options, targeting ingredients simplicity, the use of minimal processing and optimization of taste and textural experiences.”