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The Plant-Based Foods Trend & Generation Z

The trend of plant-based eating continues to gain momentum, and Generation Z is set to take this trend to yet another level. In this feature, we share a few compelling statistics that reflect the rising interest in eating plant-based foods:

  • Just Eat, an international food delivery company, predicted plant-based food options to be the top food trend of 2018, based on the 987% increase in demand for vegetarian options in 2017.
  • Plant-based foods were ranked as the #1 food trend in 2018 by international food and restaurant consulting group Baum + Whiteman.
  • A September 2017 Neilsen survey found that 39% of Americans and 43% of Canadians are actively trying to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets.
  • “Plant-based diet” was one of Google’s highest growth search phrases in 2017, and Google Trends reports that queries using the term “vegan” have increased every year.
  • The substitute meat market is expected to grow 8.4% annually, reaching $5.2 billion globally by 2020, according to a report from Allied Market Research.  For this report, “meat substitutes” were comprised of products prepared from tofu, tempeh, textured vegetable protein, seitan, and other plant-based sources.

The spike of interest in plant-based foods has largely been attributed to Millennials, but now, and even more so, it’s Generation Z. Generation Z are people born between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s, which means they are now 15 to 25 years old.

Here are some compelling findings on Gen Z:

  • A 2015 survey of foodservice professionals in colleges and universities across North America listed “plant-based menus” as an up and coming item. These foodservice professionals also noted placing a particular focus on “sourcing alternative proteins.” (Source: Y-Pulse Survey: “What does Gen Z want to eat?”)
  • A 2017 report found that Generation Z consumes 57% more tofu and 550% more non-dairy milk than Millennials. Many are considered part of a growing movement of “flexitarians” who eat meat and animal products sparingly. (Source: Barkley/FutureCast report, “Getting to Know Gen Z: How the Pivotal Generation is Different From Millennials”)

Naturally, these statistics are a reflection of what we are recognizing in our day-to-day lives. We’re seeing mainstream and international food brands pouring money into new and developing non-dairy and meat-free divisions, restaurant menus expanding and highlighting their vegan options, and mainstream venues adding more tantalizing plant-based fare to their general food concessions. It’s good business. Diners want to eat what makes them happy.

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