Gen Zs, millennials driving growth of plant-based foods

The popularity of plant-based foods has been growing in recent years, and Gen Z and millennial consumers are likely to continue pushing that growth.

That’s according to a recent report from The NPD Group, which found that the consumer demand for these beverages and foods for in-home meal prep has continued throughout the pandemic.

Both dairy and meat alternatives are forecast to grow through 2024, driven almost entirely by millennials and Gen Zs, who choose these products for better health and because of their interest in sustainability and animal welfare, reports The NPD Group. 

These deep-rooted values of Gen Zs and Millennials behind their choice of plant-based foods have enabled the category to continue to grow throughout the pandemic when many consumers turned to comfort or more familiar foods.

The demand didn’t waver during the pandemic. In fact, about one in five adults say they want more plant-based foods in their diets, and that number remained steady throughout 2020, according to NPD’s recently released The Future of Plant-based Snapshot: The Evolution of Plant-based Continues.

Interest in these dairy and meat alternatives by Gen Zs and millennials extends beyond burgers and almond milk. These plant-based consumers look for various meat, poultry, or seafood analogues, flavour profiles, or formats. For this reason, opportunities exist across frozen, shelf-stable, indulgent, and snack categories.

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“As consumers continue to prepare more meals in the home and younger generations cook more, plant-based foods and ingredients will be a part of their repertoire,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food industry analyst and co-author of the study. “In addition to providing a variety of plant-based foods and ingredients, food manufacturers should also focus efforts on Millennials and Gen Zs since they will be driving the category’s growth. Their concerns for sustainability and animal welfare should also be taken into account when messaging to them.”

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