U.S. Plant-Based Food Trends: Understanding consumer and foodservice operator attitudes around fruits & vegetables, plant-based alternatives, nuts & seeds, legumes, whole & ancient grains, and functional foods

Mar 2018| MDK003A| Datassential

Report Highlights

Plant-based eating is far from an all-or-nothing proposition. A growing number of consumers, today’s “flexitarians,” are cutting back on animal-based foods but not giving them up entirely. Even omnivores are far more likely to say they are eating more fruits and vegetables than meat, poultry, or dairy.

And a majority of consumers overall, regardless of dietary preference, are interested in increasing the grains, nuts, and legumes in their diets.

Most consumers freely eat meat, poultry, and seafood, although nearly one-third identify as either “flexitarian” or say they limit or avoid animal proteins. Vegetarians and vegans represent a small minority.

Health concerns drive reductions in animal protein consumption. Younger consumers are more likely to be trying to lose weight and to be motivated by concern over livestock production methods if they are eating less meat, poultry, or other proteins.

Consumers say they overwhelmingly opt for eating both fruits and vegetables rather than drinking them in juices, smoothies etc., despite the growth of such product offerings both at retail and in foodservice. Fruits are slightly more likely than vegetables to be consumed in liquid form.

Consumers choose plant-based alternatives because they think they are healthier and they want to cut down on animal-based products. The flavors of these alternatives are not winning many fans; innovation is welcomed but should focus on meeting expectations around taste.

In Datassential's Plant-Based Eating Keynote report you'll learn about the range of plant-based eating habits in America with insights from vegans, flexitarians, unapologetic carnivores, and everyone in between. The report combines the opinions and behaviors of 1,500 consumers and hundreds of restaurant, retail, and onsite operators with insights from Datassential’s industry-leading menu tracking databases MenuTrends and INSIDER and consumer sentiment tools FLAVOR and SCORES.

Consumption & Attitudes:
Explore how often and how consumers eat different types of plant-based foods
Track changes in consumption over the past year and the reasons behind the changes
Identify consumption drivers and barriers

Diets & Lifestyle:
Learn how plant-based foods fit into consumers’ diets and lifestyles
Understand purchase criteria and motivators
Uncover which meat and dairy alternatives are most appealing

Operator Perspectives:
Understand how foodservice operators are menuing and marketing plant-based foods
Learn which formats are most commonly purchased
Pinpoint operational challenges and identify opportunities

Restaurant Menus & Consumer Appeal:
Follow the growth of fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts seeds, and plant-based alternatives on restaurant menus Over the past decade
See which varieties rank the highest in consumer affinity

Functional Foods/Superfoods:
Learn what consumers and operators know about and expect from functional foods/superfoods
Discover how those opinions affect food purchasing

Datassential, a Chicago-based food industry research and consulting firm, brings clients real-world information on foodservice and consumer packaged goods in the U.S. and around the world. The company’s services, including its extensive MenuTrends database, provide in-depth reporting on trends in menu offerings, flavor profiles, ingredients and preparations. Datassential helps operators, retailers, and suppliers understand and capitalize on these important trends.

Datassential makes the food industry smarter. We provide trend software, predictive analytics, and consumer insights that help manufacturers, food retailers, and chain restaurants innovate and sell more intelligently.

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