What’s next?
The future of plant-based food
according to the consumer

Increasingly more consumers are eating plant-based foods weekly or even daily. The trend towards a meat-free diet is growing and the last few years many people have started to call themselves flexitarians.
Where in the past the granola content of the environmentally responsible diet was often scoffed at, even many of the biggest meat lovers are opting for a flexitarian lifestyle now. Consumer Research agency Mintel recently published a report about the expectations of the consumer regarding plant-based products. A report with valuable information, which we at Greenway do not want to keep to ourselves.

Step up your game

The research is based on a quantitative and qualitative study that uncovers what the next steps are for the manufacturers of plant-based products, using surveys in European countries (e.g. Spain, the UK, Italy, Denmark, etc.) What does the consumer expect? How can the market meet this demand? Is there room for improvement? The research particularly shows that the plant-based market still has an enormous growth potential. According to the European consumer, it is important to be innovative.

Where in the past, the supply of vegetarian and vegan products was somewhat hidden in the supermarket, today’s plant-based assortment has a more prominent place. The number of flexitarians is still growing every day and so, according to the consumer, should the supply. This can only be done, the research shows, by developing correct, tasty products that contain all the required nutrition and at the same time are not over-processed. Transparency is also shown to be very important to many consumers; they want to know what’s in their plant-based burger, and they prefer a short list of ingredients over a longer one.

Consumer awareness is big. The media and science are showing that a plant-based diet not only has a positive effect on the body, but also on the environment, and so a stream of eco-dieters has appeared, i.e. people who do not necessarily want to eat plant-based, but do want to contribute their share to protect the planet by eating differently.

They often opt for local products, which may or may not be plant-based, but that are produced sustainably. Oddly enough, the consumer’s interest in including hybrid products (e.g. milk that is 50% plant-based and 50% cow’s milk) in their diets is very big. These blended products are not that popular yet in Belgium, but they might be in the near future.

How Greenway meets expectations for today and tomorrow

To convince both vegan and flexitarian, Greenway also develops plant-based meat, in addition to the innovative plant-based products. These are products that look like meat and taste like it somewhat, but that are 100% plant-based. In this way, we offer recognisable products that can instantly be absorbed into anyone’s daily diet, because you simply replace, for example, ground beef, with the plant-based Greenway ‘Minced meat’.

Greenway does a lot of research before developing a new product, in order to get the perspective of both the food industry and the consumer. At Greenway we aim to co-create with others. We ask the consumer (or food industry client) what he expects and then do what we can to make that happen. After developing a new product, we always go through an extensive test phase, during which we get a target audience to taste the new product in our restaurants.

In addition, sustainability and health are very important to us at Greenway. By opting for well-thought-out, healthy, basic ingredients and a local production process, not only the consumer benefits, but also Mother Nature. Greenway’s entire Plant-based Family (the Burger, the Chipolata and Minced meat) are even CO2-neutral.

Would you like to read the complete research?