It´s official! Plant-based food is the next big thing. Celebs are instagramming about it and a significant percentage of the Gen-Z is actively seeking tasty, camera-friendly yet healthy and sustainable food every time they eat out. A growing number of moms are also seeking plant milk substitutes as a solution to their kids´ milk allergies. Seeing this, quite a few big national and multinational brands have taken a step towards including plant-based fare among their products and some restaurants are also featuring plant-based dishes in the menus. The world isn’t turning vegetarian any time soon, but plant-based food consumption has certainly extended beyond vegetarians and vegans in the past few years for reasons of health, ethics and environment.
As a result, there’s been a lot of development in this segment to introduce new plant-based meat products and varieties. In fact, with cutting-edge technology and extensive R&D, food solutions companies like Symega have embarked on a journey to revolutionise the plant-based food industry in India so that the transition from consuming meat/dairy to plant-based products is smooth. So let’s take a look at the new trends and developments in plant-based foods to see how far we’ve really come.
- New protein substitutes besides the usual soy
Think plant protein, and the first thing that comes to mind is soy. Soy milk, soy nuggets and tofu. But today, the range of proteins used as a base for plant-based meat products has expanded way beyond that. Pea protein has been a big hit the past couple of years. Its relatively neutral flavour and high protein profile make it a great plant-based meat substitute. At Symega’s protein innovation centre, we have gone the extra mile to develop plant-based meat products with not just soy and pea, but also lentils, gluten and jackfruit in a bid to offer variety in taste and texture to our clientele.
- Meatier products promising nutritional parity
Another development in the plant-based industry is meatier tasting plant products that do not miss out on the nutritional value of meat. This addresses the two significant areas of scepticism of many people who have been reluctant to switch to plant-based foods: taste and nutrition. In fact, Symega’s new-age mock-meat products resemble meat and chicken in taste, texture and appearance and promise all the nutrients too, thanks to avant-garde food technology. What’s more, it has a more favourable nutritional profile than traditional meat in most cases. Our plant-based meat is also free from hormones, antibiotics and other drugs that may be found in traditional meat products – a significant reason why many meat eaters are switching to mock-meat nowadays.
- Expansion of mock meat product range
Mock meats are not just about burger patties these days. The latest trends in plant-based meat products include the widest variety of substitute products, making the transition for meat-eaters easier. From plant-based meat parathas to sausages, there’s never a dearth of options. Our food scientists at Symega have created products to cater to the wide palate of modern Indians. Nuggets, sausages, samosas, pepperoni, ham, kebabs, meatballs, kheema, momos – tailored for quick marketing, easy distribution and quick cooking too. Our research suggests that these are popular snack choices not only for regular plant-based food eaters but also meat-eaters who refrain from consuming non-vegetarian food on certain days for religious reasons.
- Advancements in non-dairy cheese globally
Non-dairy cheese is the latest trend in plant-based foods, and thanks to advancements in technology and several new innovations, today, it tastes similar to dairy-based cheese. Be it the richness, creaminess or melting abilities, non-dairy cheese is right on par with regular cheese, thus allowing some restaurants to feature vegan pizzas on their menu. Symega uses Rice and Oat milk for its plant-based cheese with all the proteins and micronutrients of traditional cheese. This is beneficial to not just vegans but also people with lactose intolerance and milk allergy symptoms.
- Plant-based seafood
Plant-based meat products are no longer limited to just mutton and chicken. Plant-based seafood is all the rage nowadays including fish fillets, shrimp, tuna salads, etc. In fact, a highly renowned international food expo this year even showcased plant-based crab cakes. Symega has been able to develop a few plant-based seafood options over the past months that are likely to be available to brands and HoReCas in the coming days.
- Expansion into other grocery aisles
Plant-based foods are slowly and steadily spreading out to other grocery aisles with products like sauces, mayos, chocolates and desserts etc. It even extends to non-dairy canned products and tetra pack beverages like milk, smoothies, icecreams and shakes. This offers considerable scope for entrepreneurs and retailers looking to tap into new markets and target audiences across ages.
How Can You Leverage Upon These Plant-Based Food Trends?
At Symega, we offer custom solutions to brands looking to expand their product range. Our team of professionals can help entrepreneurs build a plant-based food brand by providing expertise right from ideation, experimentation of the product, pilot trials to packaging and distribution.