We visited the Plant-Based World Expo in London, a 100% plant-based event for food service professionals, to discover all things vegan! Plant Based World connects, inspires, and empowers businesses to successfully develop and showcase plant-based products from all around the globe.
This year we sampled the latest plant-based food innovations from around the world, discovered new trends and gained culinary inspiration from industry leaders in educational sessions.
Kalsec’s plant-based presentation at the expo offered us an insight into what consumers are looking for from their food and how these factors are shaping the plant-based landscape.
Taste is the leading driver in consumer purchase of food… so products need to taste good in addition to looking good!
La Vie vegan bacon is a favourite at Plant Based World Expo Europe and is claimed to be the closest to the real thing the market has seen! La Vie understands the importance of quality and taste in their products, with many consumers seeking the familiar format of traditional bacon. They have managed to replicate the fatty and caramelised flavour we associate with pork bacon without the ‘piggy in the middle.’
Plant-based meat alternatives, MOCK Meat, have crafted ‘chef quality standard products with zero compromise on taste and texture’. With 44% of global consumers wanting improved flavour in plant-based products, meat alternatives offer a great format to showcase innovative and bold flavours. Sweet, smoky, and spicy pepper are expected to become flavour leaders within the plant-based category. We saw an emphasis on global flavours in the arena, with the rise of East Asian and Latin American Cuisines continuing to grow in popularity.
Flavour inspiration included: ‘Firecracker No Chicken Drumsticks’, ‘King Oyster Mushroom Jackfruit’ and ‘Hoisin Mushroom Mini Tarts’.
We are seeing a huge demand for sustainable products across all retailers and brands; not just in the plant-based sector. Consumers desire transparency from brands and simply being ‘plant-based’ isn’t enough anymore. People want to know what they’re eating, know it’s good for them and know it’s good for the environment too.
Showcasing the concept of sustainable snacking is Nudie Snacks, who have launched a range of cauliflower crisps made from wonky cauliflowers that shops think they can’t or shouldn’t be selling. The snack brand promotes snacking smarter by using upcycled ingredients that would otherwise contribute to food waste, to be repurposed into a tasty new snack!
Health has become an important purchaser driver over the last year, with consumers associating plant-based products with clean labels. There is a new focus on minimal processing, natural and short ingredient lists free from artificial additives and preservatives. As a result, we saw many exhibitors in the arena showcase products that focused on the quality and simplicity of their ingredients (The Food Institute). With the past few years focusing on meat alternatives, we are seeing an attitudinal shift in consumer preference for variation in plant-based options. The public are seeking new protein sources beyond meat style and soya substitutes, with mushrooms and walnuts predicted to be on the rise . To meet consumer expectations, brands will have to highlight which plant-based proteins are used in ingredient lists, not just “vegetable protein”. As covered in our sustainability section, the addition of upcycled ingredients also maximises the nutritional benefits offered from plant-based products. Upcycled products go hand in hand with creating food that is better for us and better for the planet.
In summary, we saw a great build on innovation and development across products from last year’s visit. It was very encouraging to recognise familiar brands returning to the arena with new and established vegan concepts! Invaluable talks from industry pioneers highlighted the future of veganism will be clean label and flavour focussed to meet the demands of high value plant-based retail customers. We will see an emphasis on global flavours across the category, with brands focussing on the sustainability of their products whilst trying to stay at a reasonable cost. Our Plant Based World Expo visit reaffirmed to us the strength of the plant-based market here in the UK and across Europe!
If you’re interested in our thoughts and learning from the expo or would like to understand how we can help you develop your plant-based innovation, please contact us at email@example.com.