Since the start of the first lockdown, there has been a fundamental reset in consumer behaviour. This is seen in general health, hygiene, and everyday diet.
Recent trends reported by Mintel have indicated that consumers prefer to follow diets with fewer rules. However, they have adopted a new mindset of intuitive eating. They are paying more attention to what they eat, and how they feel afterwards.
Why the Change?
According to a study conducted by the Food Government Agency, 22% of participants were concerned about the food they eat, with one of the main worries being around the healthiness of food.
Throughout COVID 19, people were made aware of the impact that having an unhealthy lifestyle has on the ability to fight the virus. Meaning consumers naturally committed to reducing health risks associated with unhealthy foods.
Other concerns that came up in the study included animal welfare and the ethical treatment of producers/farmers.
With time to think and to do more research, a lot more thought has gone into the brands consumers allowed into their homes and the food they now put on the table.
This fits in with the studies done by The Vegan Society, showing that since the first lockdown, 1 in 4 consumers have cut back on a form of animal product. 1 in 5 have reduced their meat intake. 12% reducing their consumption of eggs and dairy and 7% reducing all three. The triggers behind the change are health (35%), environment (30%) and animal rights (21%).
What does this mean for Vegan Products and Plant-Based Living?
Research has shown that many of those looking to enjoy a healthier lifestyle, have switched to adopting a more plant-based diet. Either going completely vegan or by just making mindful swaps to new and exciting ingredients.
Plant-based living increased drastically to over 600,000 consumers in 2019. This has given brands more opportunity to invest in product development. After a couple years of NPD work, we are now seeing the results on our supermarket shelves and in our food service. By 2024, the meat-free market is set to have an estimated value of £1.1bn (Mintel 2021).
This has given consumers the opportunity to open their minds with regards to how they eat in the home and when out socialising. Offering more room for more creativity when it comes to vegan products and vegan dining.
Creating Quality Vegan Friendly Alternatives
As competition ramps up for meat alternatives, vegan friendly ready meals, and plant-based dining, it’s important that you are using ingredients that are vegan certified and of a high quality.
Many ingredients that suppliers sell, are naturally vegan. However, to reduce costs they use farms that harvest in an unethical way or contaminate products.
Coconut is the perfect example of this.
So many coconut suppliers use farms that use monkeys as a harvesting method. This has been widely criticised by PETA, resulting in the products being rejected by many supermarket retailers.
Coconut milk powder can also provide an issue for manufacturers. A high percentage of suppliers contaminate their product with dairy proteins to help with stabilisation.
This stops the final product from being listed as vegan, defeating the object of using coconut as a dairy replacement.
The great thing about our relationship with the partners in our supply chain is high visibility. We can monitor all factories and farms that we work with and guarantee the validity of our vegan products.
We also know exactly where our ingredients come from and guarantee that they are high quality. This creates less wastage and better taste for our customers.
As the healthiness and quality of food and drink improves within the food and drink industry, it’s so important to keep ahead of the game.
Talk to the team today and see what we can offer, to help improve and adjust your production.