What Is in Plant-Based Meat?

Inquiring minds are curious, leading to more people trying samples.

February 06, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Consumers like to try new foods, and that’s the top reason why many have sampled plant-based meat alternatives, according to a survey by the International Food Information Council.

As reported on FoodDive.com, the study was conducted last month and included 1,000 U.S. adult respondents. In addition to the 41% who tried plant-based meat because they like to try new foods, 30% said they were curious after hearing about plant-based meats. 27% said they were trying to cut back on meat, and 27% said they think the alternative was better for the environment.

Nearly half of respondents said they’d tried a plant-based meat alternative, and they gave several reasons why they enjoyed it. The top three were taste (53%), meat-like texture (35%) and the fact that it tasted like meat (34%). Four out of 10 said there was nothing they didn't like about the faux meat, but 31% said they didn’t agree that its texture accurately replicated meat. 

When comparing nutrition labels, 45% of respondents said they think plant-based alternatives are healthier than animal meat, and 25% believed the plant alternative to be unhealthier. This isn't the first survey to come to that conclusion. A recent study from DuPont Nutrition & Health found that 52% of U.S. consumers are eating more plant-based foods because it makes them feel healthier. 

Although the meat industry urges consumers to look at the relatively long list of ingredients in plant-based products, 45% of survey respondents looked at the Nutrition Facts label and affirmed their health beliefs about plant-based meat. 

Manufacturers will need to focus on drawing attention to their offerings and then delivering on taste and texture, as more plant-based protein products are introduced. Investment firm UBS predicts that the plant-based protein and meat alternatives market will increase from $4.6 billion in 2018 to $85 billion by 2030.