Plant-based meat substitutes are becoming a necessity in the food industry. Many people are switching to plant-based alternatives as a means to eat healthier. Ten years ago, there weren’t many options for individuals with meatless diets. Now, animal-product-free food is becoming the norm. For this reason, even fast food restaurants have added more plant-based options on their menu. However, there is a concern about how well upcoming plant-based companies can stand out from the masses of a soon-to-be saturated market.

Maintaining Brand Identity

Sweet Earth, acquired by Nestle two years ago, recently announced that is preparing to launch the plant-based Awesome Burger 1 later this year. Awesome Grounds (a ground meat substitute) will soon follow. The dilemma many plant-based food companies are facing is the balance between rapid growth and individuality. However, Sweet Earth founders, Brian and Kelly Swette, are heavily involved in daily operations.  The husband and wife team held former executive positions at well-known CPG companies before launching Sweet Earth. The couple can bring their combined expertise to their organization, which has been running seven years strong. Now, the Sweet Earth brand has more than 40 products, including bowls, burritos, and vegan pizzas.

A Healthy Variety

Several new startups are cementing their position in the plant-based food sector with unique offerings. Consumers are also looking for healthier versions of milk and cheese options; not just meat. For this reason, LegenDairy Foods focuses primarily on dairy-free food products. The company uses fermentation to turn microorganisms and sugar into milk proteins. Dairy products are created from the milk proteins. Although some consumers have been longstanding vegetarians and vegans, others may want to try out the lifestyle change. Greenwise caters to people looking for a nearly identical texture to real meat 2. Greenwise meatless products are sold in a dry form and absorb the flavor of the chosen ingredients.

Fast Food Integration

The projected growth for the global retail market for meat substitutes is nearly $5 billion by 2023. Several fast food chains are adding menu options to satisfy the meatless demand. Burger King just announced the expansion of their meat-free Impossible Whopper in 100 locations within the San Francisco Bay Area. McDonald’s also launched its version of a meatless burger in Germany, one of its most successful international markets. Now, KFC is jumping on the bandwagon with the “Imposter Burger” launch in London. This meatless option will be an alternative to KFC’s famous crispy chicken sandwich 3.

Plant-based food options continue to evolve to satisfy various consumer tastes. The food industry must continue to adapt to the new staple that was once a fad. However, the impact also is seen in healthcare policies. California, Texas, Florida, and New York hospitals are among several of the first states to encourage plant-based diets for patients. Organizations that embrace plant-based eating lifestyles will likely be at the forefront of profitability.

1 With Plant-Based Awesome Burger On The Horizon, Here’s How Nestlé’s Sweet Earth Stays True To Its Roots by Janet Forgrieve
2 5 Animal-Product-Free Food Startups To Look Out For by Deniz Gülsöken
3 KFC is launching a vegan chicken burger in the UK by Amy Woodyatt