I recently spoke at the Global Cherry Summit. One topic I touched on was the rise and rise of plant-based proteins and plant-based diets. I asked the audience of 700 people how many were aware of this trend…and was shocked when only ten people raised their hands. Plant-based is THE leading food trend and as an industry who is 100% ‘plant-based’, this is a trend you need to be following, monitoring and leveraging.
Why? Because the diet of Millennials and Gen Z’s are changing the world as we know it. Plant-based is bigger than veganism and it’s bigger than vegetarianism. Plant-based is about consumers challenging the entire ‘protein = meat’ paradigm and actively eating less animal protein because of three main concerns 1) environment; 2) animal welfare and 3) health and well-being.
One of the leaders in the plant-based protein movement (and there are many) is USA based Beyond Meat. Made from pea protein, this a plant-based meat that looks like meat, tastes like meat (I’ve tried the burger and its good) and cooks like meat…but it isn’t meat. Cleverly sold through supermarket meat cabinets in over 19,000 US grocery stores, Beyond Meat was the fastest growing product in the meat cabinet for several years running. Starting to get the picture?
Just a few weeks ago, Beyond Meat listed on the NASDAQ (BYND). The starting price for the stock was US$25/share. After just one week, the stock was trading at US$75/share. Compare the strength of this IPO vs Uber and you get another clue that consumers are voting for plant-based foods with their feet, stomachs and wallets.
Fresh produce has started to recognise there is a bandwagon here to jump on and full marks to the Produce for Better Health Foundation recognising this with the launch of their new initiative entitled, “Have a Plant”. As a PBH press statement notes, “Rooted in behavioural science and extensive consumer research, Have A Plant™ was created to answer consumers' call for a simple, straightforward dialogue that speaks to their emotional food drivers and gets to the root of what all fruits and vegetables are – plants.” Their primary target market: Millennials and Gen Z.
If you are unaware of the plant-based movement, get yourself educated. This initiative has the power to re-write how consumers see, consume and buy into the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, but it is going to require us to change how we think for it to work to our advantage.