Insight by Gama Compass
MANCHESTER – 13th February 2023: Plant-based claims have overtaken vegetarian claims in new food and drink launches for the first time, the latest insight from Gama Compass can reveal, underlining shifting consumer demands as the meat- and dairy-free space continues to evolve and mature. The shift could prompt new thinking from brands and retailers keen to optimise their product positioning, especially towards younger cohorts – as well as a mass market audience – who have more exacting requirements of meat and dairy-free products than traditional buyers of vegetarian items.
While the burgeoning of vegetarian and vegan options on supermarket shelves in the past few years has certainly not passed without comment, this overarching trend may to some extent have disguised the more subtle evolutions in meat- and dairy-free innovation over the same period, in particular the way these products are being marketed to most effectively target a changing consumer base. Now, Gama can reveal one apparently significant shift in this marketing over time, with “plant-based” nudging ahead of “vegetarian” for the first time in 2022 in terms of its popularity in new launches (12.5 v 12.1% of launches).
This shift is all the more remarkable considering that just four years prior, vegetarian claims outweighed plant-based claims by a factor of 12, with “plant-based” appearing on just 1% of launches in 2018.
“The underlying fluctuations in the way animal-free products are marketed are indicative of a segment undergoing a process of maturation”, commented Gama insights director Tom Warden. “As connoisseurship has grown, consumers have become more selective, and no longer content to restrict themselves to (‘vegetarian’) products where the absence or meat or fish could be perceived as some sort of compromise. This has been an opportunity for ‘plant-based’ to fill the void – an affirmative choice based on a desire for ‘better-for-you’ options, rather than a ‘heroic’ dietary sacrifice in the interests of ethics or health”.
Read more on trends in meat and dairy-free claims in the next issue of Gama News.
Source: Gama Compass
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