Finding Opportunity in the Plant-Based Foods Category

It’s been a tumultuous 2024 for the plant-based meat industry, and we’re only half-way through the year. Here’s what happening: 

The headlines haven’t been great, but the plant-based category is not just meat mimics. There’s a whole world of plant-based foods, including cheeses, dips, milks and baked goods. We scoured Good Food Institute’s 2023 State of the Industry Report, Plant-based: Meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy, and found some good news in an eye-opening chart that showed dollar and unit sales growth for 16 plant-based food categories for the 52-week ending December 3, 2023. There were three big bright spots: 

What do these three categories have in common? For many consumers, they are necessary indulgences that warrant paying a premium price. Coffee needs cream, fitness enthusiasts will pay for quality protein powders, and everyone wants to indulge in baked goods and desserts, even vegans.   

Contrast this with plant-based meats. According to the GFI report, there’s a 156% price premium in plant-based chicken compared to chicken. In milk, it’s a 104% premium for plant-based products. Plant-based eggs? A shocking 317% premium. Amid inflationary times, consumers aren’t willing to pay plant-based premiums on products they don’t consider indulgences.  

As product development plans for 2025 start to take shape, Bluegrass Ingredients’ Agile Kitchen™ Team is focusing on these three key plant-based categories that are primed for growth.  

Plant-Based Creamers are the Cream of the Crop 

The plant-based creamer category is booming and diversifying with new players, new products and a greater variety of flavors. According to the GFI report, the category has only a 15% household penetration, so there is significant room to grow. Even better news, there is a 65% repeat buy rate, ranking it only behind plant-based milk in repeat rate.   

We’ve seen this growth firsthand with sales and new product developments in two of our key product lines: 

Looking to enter the plant-based creamer category? Contact us and we’ll provide your team with trend and product development insight.  

Plant-Based Baked Goods, Desserts Prove Indulgence is Key 

Vegans love croissants. And pies. And brioche buns. Sure, that’s most likely an overgeneralization, but the plant-based baked goods and desserts category is showing positive growth behind products that are competitively priced and indulgent.  

We’ve been working in two areas to improve the quality of plant-based baked goods: 

Maintaining the indulgence factor is key when formulating plant-based bakery foods. Our Agile Kitchen™ Team has developed many plant-based formulas that consumers crave for their indulgence.  

Improving the Quality of Plant-Based Cream Cheese, Sour Cream and Dips 

We think this is the most interesting category in the plant-based segment. Its performance wasn’t great (2% drop in dollar sales and a 4% drop in unit sales) in 2023, but the potential is massive especially considering the diverse eating occasions in the category. 

We’ve been working on a variety of cream-based dips without the cream. Our Creamy Vegan Garlic and Herb Dip uses two of our core plant-based ingredients: 

Combined with a vegan mayo base, these two ingredients provide much of the flavor base of the dip. When creating it, our team’s goal wasn’t to mimic a traditional cream-base dip, but to make it better.  

Bluegrass Ingredients approaches all of its plant-based product development in the same manner. We’re not looking to replicate traditional animal-based ingredients. We’re striving to make them better. Contact us to get started on your next new plant-based product development. 

Contact us today to get started!

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