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Just a couple years ago most shoppers consumed their protein from animals. Then there were the soy burgers and analog products and imitation milks that just didn’t taste all that great. Now it’s changing.
American’s demand for protein shows no sign of slowing in 2016, but it's evolving to focus more on plant-based options, according to a new report from Packaged Facts entitled Food Formulation and Ingredient Trends: Plant Proteins.
The research report found half of Americans now believe plants are the best source of protein and consumers increasingly want more non-meat protein-enriched foods, such as bagels and nondairy beverages. Many consumers likely also are turning away from animal proteins as a way to avoid residues of antibiotics and hormones found in meat, the report suggests.
Why? The report indicates this desire likely stems in part from consumers better understanding that plant-based proteins provide the same benefits as animal protein in terms of satiety, energy, building muscle mass and strength and helping promote weight management, and that consumers now know that eating plant proteins is a way to avoid saturated fat, cholesterol and allergic reactions to dairy and eggs.
Animal welfare, especially led by the Millennials, also increasingly is a reason that consumers are turning to plant-based alternatives. About two-thirds of Americans, according to the report, are interested in sustainable food options and the environmental impact of their food choices. Packaged Facts notes that there is“Growing recognition that meat production is resource-intense may be contributing to or the result of emerging consumer awareness of environmental and social responsibility considerations associated with food and beverage purchase decisions.” A conclusion that almost made it into the 2016 Dietary Guidelines as well.