Plant-Based Trends: #4 Top Global Trend for 2024

Explore Trend #4 in Innova’s Top Ten Trends of 2024, Plant Based: The Rise of Applied Offerings

April  9, 2024 – In 2024, the #4 trend for Innova Market Insights is Plant-Based: The Rise of Applied Offerings. This trend, which is a combination of global, consumer, and food and beverage trends, captures the adaptation of well-known dishes and formats in a way that is familiar to consumers and easy for them to understand – especially consumers who would like to eat more plant-based products.

Plant-Based in an Evolving Marketplace

This year’s plant-based trend is the latest in a long line of top trends for Innova. Each year, plant-based products evolve to better align with consumer trends. In 2019, Innova’s trend The Plant Kingdom showed how brands adopted greener portfolios to attract mainstream consumers. The 2020 plant-based trend showed movement toward a plant-based revolution. The year 2022 acknowledged innovation in plant-based products and now, the 2024 trend captures the rise of plant-based variations to familiar dishes.

Plant-Based Trends Top Global Trends for 2024

Vegan, Vegetarian, Flexitarian, Plant-Based

Global plant-based trends show that today’s consumers are very diverse in terms of their relationship with plant-based eating. Some are reducing animal products and consuming more meat alternatives and dairy alternatives, even if somewhat reluctant to significantly change the way they eat. Some consumers enjoy eating plants for health, while others enjoy plant-based foods, along with meat alternatives and dairy alternatives, for adventure and concern over the environment. Those who are driven by health may try to avoid meat substitutes for being highly processed, and they may prioritize plant-based foods instead. Dedicated vegetarians and vegans are committed to having more plant-based foods and drinks. Overall, the highest percentages of consumers describe themselves as flexitarian, followed by those who are pescatarian, vegetarian and vegan.

Gen Z, Millennials, and Plant-Based

Plant-based trend research demonstrates that Gen Z and Millennial consumers are more likely than older generations to avoid animal meat. Higher percentages of these younger consumers are vegans or are more willing to try different types of plant-based formats for various reasons. Convenience is important since research shows that younger consumers frequently eat on the go. Plant-based foods appeal to consumers who want to experience meals in a different and more exciting way, including varied formats and dishes from global cuisines. However, meat alternative burgers are considered by many consumers as not exciting enough. Consumers who are eating less meat out of concern for the environment could be motivated by eco messaging to eat more plant-based foods, meat alternatives, and dairy alternatives and less animal-based foods.

Plant-Based for Variety and Health

Health and variety are the top two reasons mentioned in consumer research for considering plant-based meat alternatives and dairy alternatives. Several years ago, health was already mentioned as a main reason – along with environmental concerns. Today’s plant-based marketplace offers more novelty and variety to grab and retain consumers: a solid proportion of consumers say they have bought more plant-based food because of the variety and having more products available.

plant based trends

Conveniently Plant-Based

Research shows that consumers think plant-based foods are less convenient, and they don’t know how to prepare them. Consumers would like cooking guidance and recipes to give them confidence. They also seek meal kits and other formats that are easy to prepare.

Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

Consumers value foods and beverages that are familiar. That is why manufacturers offer meat alternatives and dairy alternatives that resemble their animal-based counterparts and have familiar flavors. Options such as meat-free schnitzel, non-dairy mac and cheese, meat alternative finger foods and ready meals with meat substitutes are becoming popular. Also, plant-based trend research indicates meat substitutes in alternative formats are growing faster than traditional meat substitutes. High quality plant-based dishes bring value to the whole concept of plant-based.

Variety in Global Plant-Based Trends

Variety in plant-based products is very important, with research showing that more than half of consumers want to have more choice – especially Millennials and Gen Z. Millennials and Gen Z also say they prepare plant-based versions of international dishes.

Consumer interest in plant-based international dishes is led by Italian plant-based options, followed by Chinese and Mexican. Less well-established cuisines such as Balkan and Vietnamese also are appealing. While ethnic flavors increasingly are used in meat substitutes, they are not yet highly prominent in plant-based and vegan ready meals and side dishes.

Protein for Plant-Based Success

Plant-based meat alternatives used to be based mainly on soy. Today, pea protein is the top choice. Bean protein, chickpea protein, and lentil protein also are gaining share because they are versatile and suitable for dairy alternatives and meat alternatives. Seed proteins such as flaxseed protein and canola/rapeseed protein should be watched for future growth. Mycoprotein from mushrooms has been used in a limited number of products but mycelium protein may be a growth area for plant-based meat alternatives in the future.

Other Innova Trends Incorporate Plant-Based

The Innova Market Insights trend Plant-Based: The Rise of Applied Offerings intersects with several other Top 10 Trends in 2024. Promoting ‘star’ plant proteins aligns with Ingredients: Taking the Spotlight the top 2024 trend. Nurturing Nature supports positive environmental messaging around plant-based products. Local Goes Global calls for more internationally flavored plant-based recipes. Vegan foods for home cooking and entertaining are reflected by the trend Home Kitchen Heroes, while foods based on marine plants relate to Oceans of Possibilities.

What’s Next: New Plant-Based Categories and Applications

Plant-based foods and beverages are expanding into other categories outside of meat alternatives and dairy alternatives. Look for plant-based in chocolate, sauces, spreads and beverages. Plant-based products also are being launched as seasonal items for the summer, Christmas, and other holidays, festivals, and seasons. Finally, Veganuary, observed around the world every January, draws attention to and interest in veganism, which further increases interest in plant-based foods.


This article is based on our insider report, “Top 10 Trends 2024: Trend #4 – Plant-Based – The Rise of Applied Offerings – Global.” If you are interested in reading this report, feel free to request a demo. You can do this by either booking a demo or using our Contact Form.

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