bake - March/April 2020 - 55

"The plant-based food and beverage movement has been
gaining momentum over the past 12 months, and this
is going to be another breakout year for the category."
Kurt Long, director of Flexitarian Solutions, ADM

Chicken was the first plant-based protein to be offered at a na-

about themselves. Flexitarian diets are helping them to bridge

tional chicken chain in the U.S. The primary source of protein in

the gap between being a vegan/vegetarian and a carnivore.

Beyond Fried Chicken comes from soy, wheat, and pea proteins.

"This category for decades was defined by a niche audience of

There have also been vegan products making appearances in

vegans and vegetarians," says Zak Weston, foodservice analyst

breakfast sandwiches (Beyond Sausage sandwiches at Dunkin',

at the Washington, D.C.-based Good Food Institute, a consult-

Carl's Jr./Hardee's), pizza (spicy vegan chorizo at Blaze Pizza),

ing firm. "But now there's a much larger market of flexitarians

and tacos (Qdoba's plant-based crumbles), among other foods.

and omnivores who might eat beef one night and a plant burger

Expanded nutritional benefits with function-forward health

another night. It's the same indulgent experience, but in their

features like added fiber, antioxidants, probiotics, and vitamins
("Protein Plus") don't just drive demand; they also command a
higher price point. Research shows consumers are willing to pay
a premium for products higher in protein, fiber, whole grains,
and vitamins.

It's also fairly easy for foodservice establishments to adapt to,
as many plant-based proteins cook just like regular meat.
"If you're a limited-service restaurant focused on operational
efficiency, these analog products are pretty straightforward,"

Clean label is also a big factor for plant-based proteins. Sixty

Weston says. "You cook the product on the grill or toss it in the

percent of consumers say recognizable ingredients influence

fryer the same way you would cook meat items. You don't have

their purchase decision, and 66% say they are looking for labels

to retrain the staff."

with the shortest ingredient list. These numbers are sure to rise
over the course of 2020.
Additionally, comfort is important to consumers, so being
able to integrate these products into comfort foods will be key.

Weston also has some suggestions for marketing these products to consumers. Don't segregate them on your menu - mix
them in with the regular menu so that diners know these options are for them also.

These consumers, especially those with children, will be looking

You should also stress that these items are both tasty and

for plant-based versions of family-friendly foods like mac and

familiar. Focus on what the product is (plant-based), not what

cheese and pizza.

it isn't (meatless). Finally, good photography can help highlight

Foodservice success can hinge on consumer trends, and it's
clear that consumers want foods that make them feel better

how plant-based products look and taste just like many other
menu items.

COPYRIGHT 2018 © ETIENNE VOSS

KFC, BLAZE PIZZA

minds it's healthier, it doesn't have cholesterol."

bakemag.com | MAR-APR 2020 > 55

Bake_Mar-Apr20.indb 55

3/26/2020 2:22:25 PM


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