plant based food trends

New US food products that used the term “plant based” grew by 268% between 2012 and 2018! Plant based food trends are attracting a huge number of consumers, so food product development startups should take notice. Plant based products appeal to people who are concerned about environmentalism and other hot-button issues that affect the food industry.

You might be wondering, “What’s the difference between plant based and vegan?” Basically, a vegan diet is always plant based. However, a plant based diet isn’t necessarily vegan. Someone may base their diet mostly on plant foods, but still eat meat and dairy. With this in mind, the term “plant based” can appeal to everyone from a marketing standpoint, not just vegetarians and vegans. That means it has enormous marketing potential! Let’s take a look at some plant based food trends to watch.


Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical compound in cannabis with potential pain relieving and anxiety reducing qualities. CBD is currently exploding in popularity as a Millennial health trend. It is perceived as >a “natural,” plant based way to improve health and wellbeing. You’ve probably seen it advertised in gum, chocolates, cookies, and even breakfast cereal. As we keep exploring uses for cannabidiol and marijuana becomes legalized in more places, you’ll definitely be able to see this trend continue. Now is a great time to take advantage of it for your own food or beverage product.

Meat and Dairy Alternatives

Have you noticed all the different meat alternatives on the shelves? We’re not just talking about the Impossible Burger. Consumers are loving a wide variety of plant based substitutes for chicken, cheese, milk, eggs, and much more. Cauliflower, chickpeas, cashews, and black beans have caught up to traditional meat alternatives like soy, and you can find these products in mainstream grocery stores. As consumers continue to support initiatives to reduce pollution and animal cruelty, you can expect that plant based meat alternatives will keep growing in the market.

Are You Getting Enough Protein?

On a related note, we’re increasingly seeing products with information on their labels like “pea protein” or “soy protein,” among others. Health-conscious consumers know they need to eat a lot of protein, but many of them are also trying to eat less meat. That’s where plants come in. Companies have been focusing marketing efforts on the benefits of plant protein as a way to make plant based diets more accessible and complete. With increased interest in vegetarianism and veganism, marketing your product as a nutritious alternative to meat products is a big plus.

As we discussed in our blog about biodegradable food packaging, plant based trends don’t only cover foods. Plant based utensils are becoming increasingly popular as companies look to decrease plastic usage, as well as other alternatives to single-use plastic.

Plants are Healthy…Right?

It’s important to note that just because a product is plant based doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Many plant products, including meat alternatives like the Beyond Burger, are highly processed. This can damage the nutrients they would contain otherwise. Marketing a product as plant based can make it seem healthier by default, but it’s also important to keep in mind Millennial brand values like brand transparency and authenticity in marketing. Where will your plant based product fit in?

Take Advantage of Plant Based Food Trends with HSR Associates

How can your startup take advantage of plant based food trends? HSR ASSOCIATES specializes in developing new food products and bringing them to market. We provide all the services necessary, from Kitchen To Marketplace. Contact us today at

More great ideas to come from our food product development experts! Stay tuned…………..