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2020 Insights: Plant-based proteins

Numerous trends are part of the industry’s move toward sustainability, including plant-based proteins.

“One cannot deny the success of brands such Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat with the convenience and flavor profile they’re able to deliver,” says Tom Thompson, partner at Golden Sun Marketing in Mound, MN.

He sees more inclusion of these items in meal solutions. “It’s the convergence of the well-discussed trends of convenience and plant protein,” he says, citing new examples such as Del Monte’s Better Break bowls and Wholesale Produce Supply’s Nora and Ashley’s brand, available regionally in the Midwest.

Priscila Stanton, vice president of marketing for Irwindale, CA-based Bonduelle Fresh Americas, which owns Ready Pac Produce, Inc. BB #:114498, agrees. “There’s an industry shift towards eating healthier and bringing more plant-based food to the center of the plate,” she says, in both the retail grocery and restaurant industry.

In the last few years, Bonduelle has launched Harvest Bowls, which offer a protein and fresh vegetables in a bowl, and the Slider and Reuben salads in its ReadyPac Foods Bistro product line.

Consultant Brian Numainville, principal at Lake Success, NY-based Retail Feedback Group, also expects to see ongoing interest in plant-based foods. “Consumers are interested in more nutrient-dense foods, with more whole foods and less processed choices, so this is of real benefit to the produce category.”

This is a multi-part series adapted from the January 2020 issue of Produce Blueprints, featuring a variety of experts predicting what will be top of mind in 2020.