What is the Plant-Based Food Industry?
If we just go a few years back in time, there is a high chance that the name plant-based food industry would have sounded a bit new and different to you. However, today, we live in a world which not only talks about this but also supports the ideology well.
For those of you who are still unaware, plant-based foods have seen a rise in the past couple of years and we are so enthusiastic about this news that we think everyone should be aware of everything there is to know about plant-based foods. The industries that have started dealing with plant-based foods also have a wide range. From start-ups to established companies in the food industry, everyone wants to give this a shot as they do find it more than just a new thing in the market.
The rationale behind saying this is the fact that this whole new wave is a result of efforts that people have made to find healthier alternatives which are also good enough for you to satisfy your taste buds. Hence, we do think that in an industry such as that of food, you can only sustain if you have a genuine approach and something to give back to society.
While the whole industry of plant-based foods has a lot to offer, this specific product has gained a lot of recognition and success since 2019. The concept still might sound new to some groups, but for those who converted to vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, this is a blessing.
Plant-based meat is meat which is made up of the plant. Yes, it literally means what it sounds like. Still weird? Well, think of it this way, the heights science has reached are in front of us, and so it is very much possible to produce something that is not meat but will look like it and even taste like it!
Additionally, it doesn’t even stop there, you can not only have plant-based meat, but you also get to choose. The industry is growing with each passing day and anything that you would imagine about it can come true. Hence, now when you go out with your friends, you can order a burger too without feeling left out!
Also, plant-based industry and especially plant-based meat are not something that came into existence just for the vegan and vegetarian groups. People who do not mind eating non-veg have also started to prefer plant-based meat as you get the same taste, the same nutrients, and it looks the same as well while being a healthier option! There is no practical reason for not trying this once at least!
Continuing the discussion on the demand of plant-based meat, one can take a look at the study done by PBFA and Kroger which showed how in stores of three different regions, when plant-based meat was placed in the meat section, the sales increased. This study is enough to show how people who normally do prefer meat in their diet, are now opting for this alternative and not just to try it out of curiosity but to make it a part of their routine.
Plant-Based Food Association
Now that we have taken a look at one of the reports presented by the Plant-Based Food Association, it is significant to talk about their role in this domain. To be very specific and brief, one can say that PBFA is working towards making plan-based foods more visible in the upcoming years and to make them something more than just an option. However, being this brief about their role will not do justice to the services that they provide.
PBFA generally works with retailers, service providers, and have some strategic partners. Apart from that, they actively indulge themselves in data collection processes and have a certification as well that makes this association what it is today. This certification can be obtained by anyone who wishes to include plant-based foods in their supplies and wants them to be certified for greater legitimacy.
When your product goes into the market with the stamp which shows that it is PBFA approved, the value automatically increases. Although, what needs to be focused on over here is the fact that PBFA takes this job very seriously. When you visit the website, you can check how there are so many different things that are made sure before claiming any product as a plant-based food.
Apart from being a certification provider, the basic areas where PBFA likes to work include labeling, agriculture, and nutrition. They have set policies and they do not fear to be a part of and also being the initiator of movements or disagreements, which take place because of the violation of these basic rules that everyone should follow.
We can now discuss several initiatives and successful studies that PBFA has arranged to increase the visibility of plant-based foods.
When we said earlier that PBFA provides sellers with certification, we included that point because it holds much more significance than it may look in the first go. The rationale behind talking about this separately is the fact that it is a whole program through which not only does the association claims a product as a plant-based food, but it also creates awareness about the field itself.
For example, through this certification, you get a clearer idea of products that can be claimed as plant-based while they are alternatives for meat, dairy, and several other products. You also get to know about ingredients that can be used in the process which are neither from animal nor plant origin. However, for this particular thing, you also need to keep in mind the percentage that is being used to do so.
Lastly, while many things can be used in the making as an ingredient, some of them are also a complete no. These are also ingredients that are not from plant or animal origin but are still strictly prohibited to be included in the process. For example, alcohol, dietary supplements, tobacco products, etc.
Apart from providing certification and working with retailers, one of the major things that PBFA does is to create awareness. The three things that we mentioned above, i.e. labeling, agriculture, and nutrition are not just there for policies, but these are the topics that the association actively talks about. They work hard to make people realize how these things matter and there are different ways through which they accomplish their goal.
The very first thing that they do in this regard and that we have already witnessed is to conduct studies and research in collaboration with other big names of the industry. Through this, not only are they able to find legitimate answers to their queries, but they are also able to tell people how these things make a difference. Additionally, since they collaborate with other people in the same industry, they are at the same time increasing the visibility aspect of plant-based foods.
The second thing that they do with regards to awareness is to oppose or support any decision that is made in the food industry concerning plant-based foods. By doing so, they are giving the message to the society that protection of the status of plant-based foods is necessary and that they will not let it be compromised at any cost.
Lastly, when you visit the page, you will find several blogs that not only talk about their countless and noteworthy achievements but also increases your knowledge. For example, they posted about how they were able to co-host their first-ever virtual veg-fest by collaborating with Kroger. Several other very informative initiatives are being given recognition through these blogs so that people can make use of the information and support the plant-based industry to its fullest!
Reasons Why People Are Shifting Towards Plant-Based Foods
Now that we have an in-depth insight into how PBFA has a founding role in increasing the visibility of plant-based foods, we can take a look at the factors why people are willing to make this shift. Around one-third of the US population is willing to try plant-based foods, the US retail sale of plant-based food increased five times faster than total food sales in the past year and all this is happening because people are willingly making this shift. Hence, it is necessary that when we have talked about and understood everything related to plant-based foods in general and PBFA in particular, we take a look at various reasons because of which this shift was possible and will continue to increase in the coming years!
This reason may not sound like the number one drive towards buying plant-based foods, but it is. When your target is the public that has been opting for non-veg food for the longest time, they love eating it but do want to have a healthier diet, you need to give them alternatives that do not disturb their taste buds completely.
With the help of technology, it is possible to come up with plant-based alternatives that not only taste the same but also provide similar textures more healthily. Hence, this is the biggest drive for people to shift towards this alternative. However, for further growth, the plant-based food industry will have to keep the focus towards this aspect as people who even have other reasons to make this shift will still want taste as an incorporated aspect of this shift!
Recent times are proof enough to tell how important it is to take care of your health. No matter how much exercise you can afford to do or how many rounds of a walk are you capable of per day, if you don’t have healthy eating practices, you can have severe issues. Not only is it significant to have a better immune system, but also the fact that your overall food options need to be healthier.
People have started to consider this thing now. Plus, this factor goes well with the above one. We do have a community that is vegetarian or vegan, but they are in a very small number. Hence, the main public that plant-based industry is right now catering to is those which can be referred to as flexitarians. A large population of the US is accustomed to meat-eating but the majority of them are now including plant-based alternatives in their diet and one of the major reasons to make this shift is to get the health benefit out of it.
3. Climate Change and Environment
Lastly, since the awareness is increasing with each passing day, we have a large amount of public that support initiatives to make the overall health of the earth better. We as humans have already destroyed the world, we live to a great extent, and now its high time that we start practicing things that can work towards bringing a change. Most of this population consists of millennials and gen Z who are more into the field of knowing and working towards bringing a positive change.
After talking about almost every aspect of the plant-based food industry while knowing that there is a lot more to explore, one can rethink their decisions and their food choices. The focus here is not to completely shift to veganism or becoming a vegetarian. The point that the plant-based food industry and PBFA wants to make in particular is the fact that the age we live in is the one that demands us to make informed decisions and move forward while keeping in mind that compromising on health should never be an option.
We hope that this informative article would have helped you in understanding the field and seeing how there have been initiatives that are in place for this industry which we all need to support so that we can make a positive change not just in our lives but for the world as well!