By: Marilyn Weiss, Chief Innovation Officer
Part 1 shared learning around generational nuances within the plant-based food category. In case you missed it, check it out here.
In Part 2, we share motivations, barriers and the critical role of taste.
Motivations & Barriers
Motivations & barriers to plant-based eating are influenced by generation as well as consumer segment across the health-taste continuum. Since growth of goods and services tend to ignite when the interest becomes mainstream, we focused this analysis among the mainstream segment versus a specific wellness segment. WHY? Because for plant-based to continue the growth-momentum, the products in this segment will need to appeal to mainstream consumers beyond vegans & vegetarians.
Mainstream Motivations appear to be:
- About options: not rejecting traditional protein sources
- Looking for healthy choices that taste good, are easily accessible, and work within their busy lifestyles
- Dipping a toe into a healthier lifestyle or Plant-based eating because:
- Plant-based is perceived as healthier than animal-based options
- Feel ‘better’ about what they are eating and its ‘better for the environment’
Mainstream Barriers appear to be:
- New Behavior: “I’m too set in my eating habits to make the change.”
- Ingredient Labels: People are asking more questions about the product’s formulation and ingredients. Labels are under scrutiny.
- Taste: expect it to ‘taste like cardboard.’ Taste is the foundation for a Plant-based experience.
When it comes to food, taste is paramount – it is the foundation. No surprise there.
However, whether driven by animal welfare or personal health reasons, there is a threshold on taste for plant-based foods. For some, taste is a barrier because the expectation is just too low. Yet, many have been delighted that the taste has exceeded their expectations. While it doesn’t need to taste exactly like the analog product (i.e., Almond Milk to Dairy Milk), it does need to taste good enough to warrant re-purchase and a place in dietary routines.
Taste expectations will differ across consumer segments. For example, a Vegan consumer is more accepting that a plant-based meat alternative doesn’t taste exactly like meat because a Vegan is a non-meat eater. For a Flexitarian or someone simply cutting back on meat consumption, there is a desire for the plant-based alternative to come very close to the “real deal!”
At SIVO Insights, we guide brands to focus on their customers, realizing the power of that relationship and delivering insights to strengthen that connection. It’s about truly understanding what people value, finding their gain points as well as solving their pain points and delivering a stellar consumer or customer experience. We work across many industries and verticals bringing the “voice of the consumer” to bear in business decisions.
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