The Business Case for Plant-Based

The Boston-based market research and advisory firm Lux Research predicts that one third of all protein consumed in 2054 will be derived from plants, with a substantially reduced role for traditional meats and livestock products on our plates and menus. Nation’s Restaurant News, Datassential, and Mintel have all repeatedly highlighted the movement of consumers toward plant-based eating. According to recent research:


  • 22% of Americans plan to eat less meat in the future.
  • 30% of Millennials report that they eat meat alternatives every day
  • 50% of Millennials eat meat alternatives a few times per week
  • Only 5% of those Millennials were vegetarians


Plant-based meat alternatives are largely being eaten by people who also eat animal proteins, rather than as part of a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. This is a macro-shift in the way a wide swath of the U.S. public eats. Click here to learn more about why consumers are shifting to plant-based eating


These trends are already visible in the retail sector where plant-based foods that serve as replacements for animal products topped $3.1​ ​billion​ in U.S. sales within grocery stores, drug stores, and mass merchandisers, an 8.1% YOY increase; this is compared to a decline of .2% for all foods sold in the same channel.

[Read the full business case for plant-based foods]


The Power of Plant-Based Protein

Food manufacturers are embracing the burgeoning plant protein sector by creating innovative products that are great-tasting and affordable.


Companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have reinvented the “veggie burger,” creating plant-based meat (meat, made from plants) that mimics the taste, mouth feel, and experience of all-beef patties. Options also include plant-based chicken, fish, cheese, egg, and even sashimi! Hundreds of meat, dairy, seafood, and egg alternative products are available via foodservice distributors for the creation of plant-based entrées.


[Check out GFI’s database of plant-based products for foodservice]


Meat alternatives can take the form of legumes, nuts and seeds, as well as finished products made from proteins found in soy, wheat, pea, and other grains. Here are some examples of plants that pack a good protein punch!

1 cup tofu 44g
1 Impossible Burger (3oz) 20g
1 cup cooked lentils 18g
Gardein Chick’n Strips (70g) 14g
1 cup cooked black beans 15g
1 oz. dry roasted peanuts 7g
1 cup cooked wild rice 7g
1 large corn on the cob 5g
1 potato with skin 5g
1 cup broccoli 4g