plant-based protein industry is promising
The plant-based protein industry is promising because consumers are more concerned about health and sustainability.

Experts pointed out that consumers’ growing interest in health and sustainability will continue promoting the fast development of the plant-based food industry.  

SPINS’ report shows that the plant-based market is expanding with an annual growth rate of 29%, twice the F&B market itself. We also learned from IFIC’s research that about 70% of consumers believe that plant-based protein is the healthiest; 24% expressed their willingness to have more plant-based dairy products; more than 40% think plant-based products are healthier than animal products. Sustainability is also an important factor that propels people to choose plant-based products.  

The pandemic is an important factor in accelerating consumers’ interest in plant-based products. According to IFIC, 85% of Americans changed their diet habits due to the pandemic; 28% consumed more plant proteins; 24% consumed more plant-based dairy products; 17% consumed more plant-based meat.  

Experts from Cargill China said that soybeans are still dominating the plant-based protein market because they are cheap and still very nutritious. Soybean has a rival: pea. What makes peas unique is their high protein content. For example, a 1/2 cup (170 grams) of cooked carrots has only 1 gram of protein, while a 1/2 cup (170 grams) of peas contains four times that amount.  

As plant-based products are gaining popularity, consumers are becoming pickier about the types of proteins they prefer. This makes the labels on the packaging more relevant in forming the consumers’ purchasing habits. Moreover, consumers have higher expectations of the taste of plant-based products. Cargill China pointed out that plant protein is inferior to animal protein in terms of texture and taste. To solve these problems, manufacturers usually used extracted protein to improve the products’ texture. Plant-based products are often not tasty and do not contain enough proteins, therefore manufacturers adopted emulsifiers and supplement proteins in their products.  

Other factors that manufacturers must consider are the production costs and crops diversity.   

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