Plant-based & Planet-friendly Ingredients

With 1 in 10 category launches being vegan, it’s clear to see that plant-based ingredients are here to stay. In this month’s blog, we’re looking into the key drivers of the plant-based market and the importance of sustainable messaging in plant-based products.


Is The Plant-based Market Growing?

Over the last 10 years, the plant-based market has very much consolidated its space on supermarket shelves. As a matter of fact, a report by Mintel shows that the UK sales of plant-free products have seen a remarkable growth of 40%, going from £582 million in 2014 to an estimated £816 million in 2019. By the end of 2024, the market is expected to be worth in excess of £1.1 billion.


The Drivers of Plant-based Growth

There are three main reasons why consumers are choosing plant-based products; for health, taste and the environment.

A Healthier Alternative

Since the pandemic, health and wellbeing has become more of a priority for many consumers, and trends such as the January health kick are becoming more and more popular. In turn, so has the plant-based diet. In fact, some of the reported health benefits of moving to plant-based foods include:

It’s Simply Tasty

With substantial growth, there has also been significant advancement in the development of plant-based products. For instance, we invested £4.6 million in the build of our 8,000 square foot, state-of-the-art plant-based facility at our Chester site. Our vast experience in producing dairy ingredients for the food industry has meant that we have the right knowledge and expertise to enable us to create plant-based alternatives with the same level of quality, taste and innovation.

A Planet-friendly Product

Plant-based ingredients use fewer natural resources and are far less taxing to the environment, using up less water and needing far less land. In fact, eating plant-based foods is one of the best ways that consumers as individuals can reduce impact on the environment. Recent research even shows that plant-based diets have the potential to reduce food-related land use by 76%, food-related GHG emissions by 49% and food-related water use by 21%.


How Will Climate Change Influence Plant-based Products?

Sustainability has long been a hot topic for businesses and consumers alike. There is a huge call for companies to change the way they operate and future proof their supply chains. Whilst legislation such as the Paris Agreement puts businesses under regulatory pressure, there has also been an increasing consumer demand that puts the onus on brands to make an environmental impact. As such, we have seen a wave of consumers switch their buying habits toward sustainable and plant-based products.

21% of consumers in the UK say that sustainability and climate change is their key motivation for buying plant-based products. However, while consumers are becoming more mindful, plant-based products still come with a barrier to making sustainable purchases. These barriers mainly concern price, labelling and a brand’s sustainability claims.

Consumers want brands to help them make informed sustainable purchases and this has been difficult amongst the rise of greenwashing. Planet-friendly messaging is integral to the appeal of the plant-based category, however, to capitalise on the market’s success, planet-friendly messaging needs to remain clear, honest and transparent.

Dave Clarke, Senior Account Manager for Plant-based at Meadow


Spreading Our Planet-friendly Message

As suppliers, it’s important that we make our sustainability story as transparent as possible. At Meadow, we publish an annual ESG report so that our customers can keep informed about our steadfast journey to net zero. We have an array of success stories that include reducing food waste, cutting down on carbon emissions, optimising transport, responsibly sourcing ingredients and more.

At Meadow, we also like to keep our sourcing standards to a high so that we can obtain accreditations from the likes of the Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade and Red Tractor. These third-party accreditations are not only beneficial in that they demonstrate responsible sourcing to our customers, but they also provide a recognisable indication to end-consumers that our products are in fact sustainable.


Click here to find out more about our plant-based ingredients.

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