In our recent webinar, “Winning with a Plant-Based Strategy,” we explored all aspects of how to plan to succeed in this category. While in the past, we have seen rapid growth in the plant-based vertical, recent slowing encouraged us to look closer at what’s going on. This lively discussion with InsightsNow’s Chief Research Officer Greg Stucky and CuliNEX’s Senior Director of Research & Development Webb Girard was moderated by Carrie Janot, VP at InsightsNow. The webinar looks at plant-based trends, sustainability concerns, pricing, supply chain, clean label and more!
Plant-Based Meeting Consumer Concerns
Plant-based foods as an alternative to animal-based products are seen by many consumers as one way to achieve a more environmentally sustainable world. Further, plant-based foods can help address animal welfare and health concerns held by some shoppers. Consumers are also looking for labeling transparency and clean food claims, and plant-based can often meet this demand.
The Rise (and Slowing) of Plant-Based
Plant-based products were riding a wave for many years, with increased offerings in different categories. In 2016, we saw the impact of Impossible Burger and Beyond Foods as they brought plant-based foods mainstream with products that had taste, texture and visual appearances very close to animal-based meats. Recently, sales of plant-based products have been sluggish although consumers still aspire to purchase sustainable, healthy products. We have even seen press on manufacturing facilities for meat analogs being closed. So what is going on? Is the recent drop in sales and production an indication of a failed plant-based strategy—and what can be learned to achieve greater success?
First, our panel discusses how plant-based products are more expensive than animal-based in the marketplace. Average category price point data shows that plant-based burgers are 41% more expensive than animal-based burgers. So what does this mean for plant-based food manufacturers? The challenge here for the industry and from consumer standpoint is that this price differential is a barrier to entry for many shoppers—they’re not willing to trade off price in order to purchase something that may fulfill their sustainability or health goals. In fact, our study shows that 53% of people will trade away an environmentally friendly product in order to get a lower price. This is a really significant barrier to the growth of the meat alternative category.
Supply Chain for Plant-Based Ingredients
Another challenge in addition to pricing due to manufacturing costs and other factors, is that of supply chain disruptions and shortages. During the webinar, we look specifically at the shortage of palm oil—a key ingredient in many plant-based proteins. These challenging infrastructure issues, with high costs for raw materials can’t support commodity-level pricing. The webinar goes on to cover key ways to bring the price down on plant-based products and overcome supply chain issues.
Meat Alternatives and Taste
Another aspect discussed in Winning with a Plant-Based Strategy is how important the taste of plant-based meat alternatives is to consumers. Our research found that 73% of the people are not willing to trade away taste to buy plant-based—making taste even more important than sustainability in plant-based purchase decisions. Webb then goes on to discuss the different types of meat alternatives and the pros and cons of each format.
With so many different aspects of the plant-based market covered in our Winning with a Plant-Based Strategy webinar, you won’t want to miss listening to this recording. Access the webinar on-demand here: https://lphs.insightsnow.com/webinar75-plant-based-strategy. And let us know if you’d like more information about pivots or strategies you can implement for category success!