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7 Plant-Based Food Trends to Look Out for in 2024

15 April 2024

In 2024, every North American food producer needs to be paying attention to trends in the plant-based industry. One only has to glance at supermarket shelves, restaurant menus, and online recipes to understand that this sector is continuing to expand. This offers many opportunities, particularly for companies that capitalize on the trends discussed in this article.

Fortunately, Hela Spice can turn these trends into your next best-selling products. As a leading food product development company, we are a leader in flavour innovation and an experienced vegetarian food supplier.

To learn more about the latest plant-based food trends you should be aware of, keep reading this blog.

1. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are ramping up to become the biggest plant-based trend of 2024. According to VegNews, the mushroom moment started in 2020, when sales increased by as much as 40% from the previous year.

Looking forward, we expect to see even more mushrooms appearing in food products, restaurant menus, and recipes. Consequently, this is the perfect time to explore how to add this dynamic ingredient to your product offerings. Hela Spice can help.

There are many different types of edible fungi (more than 2000, exactly), meaning there is plenty of opportunity for personalization and innovation. White button and cremini may be the most common on supermarket shelves; however, they are just the beginning. From shiitake to enoki, oyster to king oyster, and lion’s mane to reishi, the world of mushrooms is vast.

Fungi are an extremely versatile ingredient packed with nutritious vitamins, minerals, and health-promoting properties. They’re a great meat replacement since they possess a naturally meaty texture that doesn’t require excessive processing. As a result, they speak to health-conscious consumers who are looking to cut back on their meat consumption or ditch meat altogether.

2. Fish-free seafood

At long last, the plant-based industry has turned its sights on seafood. The faux-fish segment of the vegan world has been largely untouched, even as plant-based and flexitarian numbers have continued to grow. Thanks to processing technologies and modern innovation, fish-free seafood is becoming a (tasty) reality.

PETA predicted this trend back in 2022. Then, the Institute of Food Technologists named faux fish one of their top trends in 2023. Now, in 2024, we expect to see even more plant-based fish products appear in supermarkets, particularly tinned vegan fish.

If you’re eager to start swimming in the ever-expanding sea of fish-free food, get in touch with the food experts at Hela Spice. We’re proud to be one of North America’s top vegetarian food suppliers.

3. Functional (yet fun) drinks

Since the pandemic, consumers have been demanding products that are functional, as well as tasty. Consequently, the functional beverage market will continue to pick up speed throughout 2024. The market, which has well and truly expanded beyond simple kombuchas and sparkling waters, is now venturing into new areas.

At Hela Spice, we consistently see exciting innovations in this sector. Will your brand be next? Think probiotic and prebiotic sodas, non-alcoholic cocktails, sparkling botanical teas, and elixirs full of gut-promoting properties. These drinks do more than just hydrate—they offer a range of functional benefits, from memory boosting to immunity strengthening.

Of course, there is still plenty of room for innovative kombucha and health-focused sodas. As long as function and health are the heart of your beverage, you’re on the right track.

4. Wellness-focused foods

Consumer desire for healthy and functional products expands beyond beverages. It comes hand-in-hand with an increasing interest in wellness-focused foods. This translates into adaptogenic ingredients (like ashwagandha and reishi mushrooms), simple ingredient lists, and an absence of processed sugars.

Ultimately, consumers want their food products to support their health, not compromise it. This means brands must be prepared to get innovative with their ingredients.

Partnering with an experienced food product development company, like Hela Spice, can help. We’ll take a closer look at your established products to see how we can infuse them with functional benefits and ingredients of the highest quality. In addition, we’ll work with you to create new best-selling products that exceed customer expectations for health and flavour.

5. Innovative plant-based meat replacements

Historically, plant-based meat replacements contained saturated fats, highly processed cellulosics, and caramel colouring. This drew criticism from health-focused consumers.

Even as vegan meats became increasingly “meaty,” certain segments of the population avoided these products altogether, taking issue with the ingredient list and excessive processing. As a result, there is a growing push to reassess plant-based meat.

In 2024, vegetarian food suppliers (like Hela Spice) are bringing innovative vegan meat-replacements to the table. Incorporating less processed ingredients (like mushrooms) into these products is one way to make them more healthy.

Alternatively, some new meatless products are using fermented proteins from soy and peas. AI (artificial intelligence) is also being used to bring plant-based products closer to their traditional counterparts.

6. “Quiet luxury” vegan foods

The term “quiet luxury” began in the fashion industry, yet it’s now being applied to food products. It refers to consumers who are willing to splurge on things that really matter. In the plant-based industry, this looks like high-quality olive oils, locally made vegan cheeses, and unique items that elevate everyday meals and snacks.

This trend encourages food producers to invest in crafting high-quality, luxurious, and intentional offerings that are sold at a higher price point. It also encourages innovation.

Brands do not have to stick to veganifying traditional products and recipes. Rather, there is a place for creativity, producing unique offerings that attract consumers eager to explore and try something new.

7. Sustainability is critical

In 2024, sustainability is of paramount importance. Every food product developer and seller needs to consider how their products affect the planet and then convey this information to consumers. After all, more than half of all consumers consider sustainability when making purchases (as reported by Tetra Pak’s 2023 Nutrition Index).

The plant-based sector is the only sector that could reach Net Zero by 2030, according to Mahesh Roy of IIGCC investor network. This puts plant-based producers at the forefront of addressing climate change.

Ultimately, rallying your brand around eco-innovative processes and demonstrating transparency is good for the planet and good for business. Consumers are eager to support companies that prioritize supporting both their personal health and planetary health at the same time.

Hela Spice: North America’s Leading Plant-Based Food Product Development Company

For more than 25 years, Hela Spice has been leading product development in the vegetarian marketplace. We use our technical expertise, consumer data, and culinary experience to reimagine plant-based products.

Like you, we’re committed to sustainability and using farm-to-table processes to reduce our impact on the planet. Contact us today to speak to our product development experts about integrating 2024’s top global food trends into your product offerings.

To learn more about plant-based product development from Hela Spice, visit our website or contact us here.

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