One of the latest food fads surging in popularity over the last few years has been plant-based protein, perceived by the public to be a healthy and green substitute for animal products. The booming sales represents an important growth opportunity for food manufacturers.
The rise of new technology and innovation is opening doors for plant-based products and has led to companies being able to successfully imitate the taste, texture and mouthfeel of animal products.
One concern for consumers and a problem for the industry is that in order to improve taste, the product may be highly processed and include added salts, sugars and enhancers. The meat free lifestyle continues to rise but is it healthier for the consumer and is it better for the environment?
The debate continues and as companies trial new technology, the future of plant-based protein continues to change and improve as manufacturers try to generate well structured “muscle” products from protein ingredients.
So, what does this mean for the food service industry? With the rise of vegetarianism and veganism, companies must constantly be searching for the next best thing. Food service outlets such as restaurants and cafés, need to branch out their menu offerings to cater to the forever changing lifestyle choices of their consumers and food manufacturers need to continue with their new product development to meet these changing needs.