“Plant-based” is currently the top trend in Food & Beverage as consumers focus on not only their wellness but also the health of the planet and all of its inhabitants.
Some of the specific ingredients and components that we’re seeing take center stage in this trend are bananas, seaweed, and choline; we’re double-clicking into each here.
Bananas are inherently portable and easy to eat and are a good source of potassium; several startups are elevating the stalwart banana with offerings in new forms such as the following:
Seaweed and kelp have long been enjoyed in Asian cultures, and are now one of the fastest-growing food categories globally. We noticed and shared innovative seaweed offerings from Natural Products Expo West in 2019. Nutritional benefits of seaweed include iodine for thyroid health, natural anti-inflammatory properties, A and B vitamins, protein, fiber, and iron. And, what is accelerating its use in new offerings is that it grows rapidly – up to 5-10 inches in a day. Since seaweed consumes few natural resources, needing only sunlight and saltwater to grow, it fuels consumers and the earth. For those reasons, seaweed is gaining traction with brands and consumers as a plant-based food and ingredient that promotes a thriving ecosystem. Brands such as Blue Evolution are making it easy for shoppers to include seaweed in their diets with their pastas.
While bananas and seaweed are familiar to most consumers, choline may be something new. Choline is an essential nutrient for humans and is necessary for optimal health and specifically brain, nerve, and liver functions. Eggs, milk, and beef are prime sources of choline and are not consumed by anyone subscribing to a plant-based diet. For that reason, nutrition experts are calling out alternative sources of choline which include cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, peanuts, quinoa, and baked beans that can be easily and intentionally melded into one’s diet. We can expect to see BigCos and startups including and calling out these plant-based choline powerhouses in future innovations, just as supplement maker Ritual has done with sharing information about the source of the choline in its prenatal vitamins.
How is the plant-based direction changing the way your brand thinks about innovation? Let’s work together and connect some dots between your strengths, consumer needs, and new solutions.