The majority of consumers (90 percent) that purchase plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy are not vegetarian or vegan, according to a new report published by market research firm The NPD group. The report found that millennials born between 1981 and 1986 are the top consumers of plant-based alternatives to traditional animal-derived products. Generation Xers (born between 1965 and1980) are also a core group of plant-based food consumers as many are parents of Generation Zers (born after 1997) who are increasingly more interested in meat- and dairy-free foods. “First and foremost, taste is king when considering entering the plant-based foods category,” Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst, said. “Attributes such as health and convenience go far to drive consumption, but if the flavor profile falls below consumers’ expectations, then the product will likely have a short run. Whether it’s marketing a plant-based burger that reproduces the meat-eating experience or a dairy alternative that has the taste and texture of milk, consumers now have substitution without sacrifice.” In July, The NPD Group reported that US consumers purchased 228 million plant-based burgers at quick-service restaurants in the first half of 2019—representing a 10-percent increase from the same time period last year. According to The NPD Group, most of these consumers (a whopping 95 percent) also purchased beef products during that time period.

Photo Credit: Impossible Foods

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