Plant-forward gaining momentum in 2021

29-Jan-2021

The number of ‘plant-based’ confectionary launches in 2020 doubles, Innova points out

Innova Market Insights’ has identified ‘Plant-Forward’ as the #2 trend for 2021, predicting the continued evolution of plant-based concepts beyond the core dairy and meat alternatives categories. In 2020, it points out, no fewer than 67% of all products with ‘plant-based’ claims were launched outside of these pioneering sectors. In the confectionery market, for example, more and more milk-free and gelatin-free products are being developed, and the plant-based confectionery space is also growing in popularity.

While total confectionery launches rose at a CAGR of less than 2% over 2016-2020, introductions of those carrying vegan claims increased at 17% CAGR. More dynamic still were confectionery launches under the simpler plant-based banner, with introductions more than doubling in 2020 alone, Innova says.

A review of vegan and plant based confectionery NPD also demonstrates the shift of animal-free products further into the mainstream. While vegan claims were once predominantly used as secondary or tertiary claims in combination with other ‘free-from’, organic or health positionings, they are now becoming a primary focus.

“Mars’ introduction of vegan Topic and Bounty bars in the UK this month demonstrates the growing importance of the vegan message,” said Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights. “Although the bars are also positioned as gluten- free, ‘vegan’ is the most important claim on the packaging, while the Vegan Society logo is also prominent.”

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The company also notes some confectionery producers are taking formulation and marketing cues from the established dairy and meat alternatives categories. In plant-based chocolate, for example, products are using terms such as ‘mylk’ or ‘m!lk’ to reflect their dairy-free recipes, while others incorporate nut or oat milks as ingredients. Meanwhile, in gelatin-free sugar confectionery, ‘veggie’ terminology is being used on occasion.

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