It’s been a week since Natural Product Expo West and I am still recovering, as well as digesting everything I learned. One thing for sure: dairy delivered at the show! That does not mean there’s not tons of opportunity for innovation and even improvements. But, all the dairy processors I talked to at the Expo said the same thing, and that was that attendees were genuinely excited to be sampling real dairy…because it delivers what most alt dairy products do not.
In fact, on March 10 at the Expo, 84.51°, a part of The Kroger Co., in partnership with the Plant Based Foods Association, presented proprietary research that identified taste, texture and quality as unmet needs in plant-based meat and dairy.
The research focused on the top 50% of spenders in plant-based meat, milk and cheese. Eighty-one consumers participated in 60-minute online conversations to discuss unmet needs in the categories. Participants were between 25 and 64 years old and 78% of them were female, as females were identified as more likely to be plant-based consumers and primary grocery shoppers.
The data showed that younger consumers do not want their plant-based foods to mimic animal-based products, while more mature consumers prefer products that are similar to the animal-based versions. All demographics want plant-based foods to be cleaner to help them live a healthier lifestyle.
Plant-based cheese was identified as a specific category with notable unmet needs. Seventy-three percent of the people participating in the research agreed with the statement, “I wish there was a better plant-based cheese alternative that tasted like regular cheese, melted well and didn’t have a grainy texture.”
To read a general review of trends at Expo West, link HERE.