Many factors contribute to the growing popularity in plant-based diets and available products in today’s market. From health to environmental factors, plus its profitability, we expect this $74 billion industry to continue booming as we head into the new year. 

Why Are People Turning To Plant-Based Alternatives? 

With health and wellness at the forefront of everyone’s mind in recent years, people are taking a second look at the foods they’re putting into their bodies and their food’s impact on the planet. When Innova Market Insights asked why people would consider adopting plant-based alternatives into their diets, 53% of global consumers responded that it would be the healthier choice, and they’re not wrong. A plant-centric diet may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, decrease the risk of heart disease, reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol in your body, lower the risk of dementia, and cultivate a healthy gut microbiome.

Additionally, a vegetarian diet is more sustainable for the planet because it creates fewer greenhouse gases than the meat production process. As climate change bombards our major news outlets daily, consumers are becoming more conscious of the impact their lifestyle decisions have on the planet, including the foods they consume. 

Here at Flavor Insights, our top priority is helping you stay on the cusp of all things flavor. Here are some ideas that will focus specifically on the cutting edge of the plant-based products market and trends to keep you innovating to match consumers wants and needs.

Trending Plant-Based Drinks

Non- Dairy Milk

A significant subset of popular drinks is non-dairy milk. Product developers have figured out ways to make alternative milk out of almost anything from soy to oat, almond, coconut, rice, and more. What makes milk a popular product for brands to create is its versatility. The innovation has no limits, which is why so many brands come out with their alternative milk. Each flavor profile is incredibly intricate, which is why our expert flavorists are standing by to help accentuate the natural flavors already present. There is no doubt that the milk market will continue to boom. 

Just like the vast number of non-dairy milk options, the plant protein market is seeing no shortage of alternatives. From pea protein, rice and pumpkin seed proteins to more adventurous hemp protein, the options for added protein to your day are limitless. Often we see these as blends of rice and pea or pumpkin seed and hemp protein to round out a beverage. As leaders in the protein category, we know a thing or two about making protein taste great.

Health-Inspired Ingredients

More than the food itself is the focus on the ingredients inside of plant-based diet products. Consumers are most concerned about limiting their sugar intake and supplementing their diet with mood and health-enhancing ingredients like adaptogens. As we mention in this article, “Adaptogens are believed to help our bodies adjust to biological, chemical, or physical stressors and help us to adapt and respond more positively.’ Some trending adaptogenic food ingredients on the market today include ashwagandha, turmeric, Rhodiola, and mushrooms such as, lion’s mane and cordyceps. Incorporating overall wellness-focused ingredients into your food products will be a crucial selling point for consumers. 

Trending Flavors

While consumers are veering towards healthy food and beverage products, they aren’t steering away from classic and traditional flavors. 

Citrus Remains Supreme 

Grapefruit has been a flavor on the rise since spring 2021, and it’s not going away any time soon. It continues to be a key flavor player in iced beverages. Blood orange, best known for its bright color, will dominate fall and winter flavor trends. Yuzu has seen a resurgence in popularity, especially in the health and wellness space. Lemon, the tried and true citrus flavor, continues to be a powerhouse. 

Fruity is a Fan Favorite 

With people unable to venture to their favorite vacation spots in the past couple of years, tropical flavors such as pineapple, guava, and dragonfruit have taken center stage as they offer a taste of vacations past. Berry is also a favorite for fruity flavors, especially strawberry. However, mixed berry and cranberry flavors are not too far behind. And we can’t forget about our favorite stone fruits like apricots and cherries. These pitted fruits rank high on the fruity flavoring list, as do their peachy and plum counterparts. 

Sweet Treats Still Win

As we approach the fall and winter months, flavors such as maple, toffee, and dark chocolate flavors reign supreme. Maple pairs well with proteins such as peanut butter and bacon alternatives. Toffee is one of the fastest-growing flavors right now. It does well with peanuts, almonds and chocolates. Dark chocolate offers a smooth, strong flavor that continues to gain recognition on menus and indulgent products on the market today.

The Opportunities Are Limitless

As you can see, the flavor opportunities for plant-based beverages are practically limitless. With so many ways to innovate with new flavors and explore brand ideas, you may feel overwhelmed and confused about where to get your feet wet. That’s why we’re here. We are a family-owned business with generations of experience in the flavor and food and drink development world. We can help you bring your food or beverage product from concept to commercialization through innovative flavor and application work. Get in touch with us today!

Flavor Insights believes this information to be correct. No warranty, guarantee, or representation is given or made with respect to the information provided. Flavor Insights is not in a position to validate the actual production or labeling of products. Flavor Insights recommends that all finished product labeling be reviewed by legal counsel, and finished product and label claim testing be confirmed to ensure product label accuracy.