The Growth of Plant-Based Diets and What it Means for the Produce Industry

The rise of plant-based eating may be a hot topic, but it is more than just a fad. It seems from 2019-2021 that nearly every brand has started considering plant-based options in order to stay relevant. We have seen changes in options and the way food is being labeled from grocery retailers to fast food. There is no escaping the words “made from plants” or “plant-based” appearing in the aisles you shop in. This is great news for the produce industry because it provides a lot of opportunities to team up with other brands or expand on existing produce options. Consumers have grown to care about companies’ environmental impacts which has helped the plant-based industry to grow. Besides the obvious way to target consumers with the idea of saving animals lives, there are other positive ways to promote plant-based shopping.

According to Our World in Data, “Research suggests that if everyone shifted to a plant-based diet we would reduce global land use for agriculture by 75%” which would help fight against deforestation as well as diminishing biodiversity. This fact alone is something that could be incorporated into promotional marketing strategies.

Aside from the positive environmental impacts of consuming more plants, there are many health and wellness benefits, too. Consumers have already started to catch on that the food they put into their body will affect their energy, mental state, and overall health. The pandemic sped up this type of thinking with many Americans now looking at their food as medicine. Fruits and vegetables will continue to be the winning solution for food as medicine, but it is key for brands to highlight all the vitamins and nutritional facts that come with each item.

Many people do not identify as fully plant-based and choose a “flexitarian” lifestyle where they limit meats or seafood and try to eat mostly fruits and vegetables. Whether the consumer is a flexitarian, a vegetarian, vegan, or even just trying out a plant-based diet, there are a lot of opportunities to promote healthy fruit or vegetable recipes to gain their attention. It is important for produce brands and grocery retailers to put effort into their produce displays and endcaps so that shoppers are encouraged to buy more produce based on enticing recipe ideas. For additional ideas on how to encourage consumers to eat more produce, view our blog that goes in-depth.

There are many ways that the produce industry can benefit from a consumer mindset shift towards plant-based eating. Do not get behind on the curve and be sure to reach out to Oster and Associates for a free consultation. We have worked with produce brands for 35 years and would love to help your brand stay competitive in this evolving marketplace.