Where are plant-based foods going in 2022

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Did you know that plant-based food will be really important next year?

Okay, you probably did. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for several years, you must have seen the writing on the wall: Vegan options are popping up everywhere, from quick-service restaurants to your local grocery store. The most interesting part is that it’s not just the (still tiny) vegan segment of the population that is increasing; “Usually” meat consumers are also attentive to the relationship between animal products and their health, as well as the health of the planet.

In my opinion, this is a good thing. I’ve always championed the idea that many people taking small steps will have a bigger impact than a few people taking big steps in Earth-friendly eating and other lifestyle choices. Now, there’s no denying that there’s money in these plants: in retail alone, plant-based foods accounted for $ 7 billion in sales last year. Sales of plant-based meat increased 45% between 2019 and 2020, and sales of plant-based milk grew four times faster in 2020 than in 2019, according to data released by the Good Food Institute and the Plant Based Foods Association.

Looking ahead to 2022, all different sectors of the global food industry are planning to serve a population that is reducing – but not entirely eliminating – animal products from their diets.

Heard of reductiontarism?

In their trend reports for next year, UK supermarket chain Waitrose and US-based Whole Foods independently identified a reduction in animal products as a trend we should expect more of. Veganism as a way of life is always intimidating and difficult for many people, whether due to financial or geographic constraints or simply preferences and habits. But even so, consumers seek to consume fewer animal products and choose more consciously when they do. According to Waitrose, shoppers are shifting toward eating meat only about two days a week. We’re well past Meatless Mondays – think completely about meatless weekdays.

Plant-based food is increasingly available, serving a population increasingly concerned about the future of the planet and its own health. Suffice it to say that vegetarian and vegan eating is no longer the hippie-dippy niche it once was.

Related: Meat of plant origin has officially achieved the status of “global phenomenon”

Gastronomy without animals …

For generations, gastronomy has meant restaurants with white tablecloths serving expertly prepared dishes, prepared almost invariably with meat, fish, dairy and eggs. Vegan and even vegetarian food, considered fringe or novelty cuisine, hasn’t really been considered among this ilk – until recently. Eleven Madison Park caused a sensation this summer when it reopened as a fully vegan establishment. While the reviews weren’t entirely rave, EMP certainly grabbed the attention of the foodie world and sparked conversations about the role plant-based menus could play in high profile restaurants. Long-standing avant-garde institutions like Kajitsu and Dirt Candy are receiving renewed consideration, and it seems like a natural next step for chefs and critics alike to continue their dive into veg-filled waters. I expect to see more celebrity chefs dabbling in vegan cuisine, more upscale veg-focused restaurants opening up, and maybe even Michelin stars awarded to vegetarian cuisines.

Related: Order: As fast food continues to go vegan, what’s the next step?

… And also plant-based fast food

Meanwhile, on the other end of the restaurant spectrum, things are changing even faster. In the past year alone, chains like Long John Silver’s, Panda Express and Little Caesar’s have taken their first steps into the vegan arena by partnering with plant-based brands like Field Roast and Beyond Meat. They join the ranks of other fast food chains, like Burger King and White Castle, which have been offering plant-based options for a few years and continue to do so. And frankly, those risks have paid off commercially, even despite the blow the pandemic has taken on quick-service restaurants. I wouldn’t expect this trend to end anytime soon – on the contrary, it continues to gain momentum.

If a trend is generally and consistently occurring, as the shift to a more plant-based diet has been in recent years, the term “trend” no longer seems to be the right term. Across all sectors, there is a rapid movement towards ‘reduction’ and vegan diets thanks to a population increasingly knowledgeable about animal agriculture and food systems in general – probably accelerated in part by food chain issues. pandemic-related supplies that have made many of us think twice about where our food comes from and how it gets to us. The truth about industrial animal agriculture and its connection to the environment, human health, and animal welfare can be confusing, but the future of food appears to be abundantly plant-based – and delicious.

Related: Entering Holiday Spirits: Wine, Beer and Alcohol Producers Turn to Plant and Organic

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