Plant-based solutions to dominate food and drink industry’s investment in new product development in 2022

October 27, 2021 - 4 min read

  • In 2022, over half (56 per cent) of food and drink manufacturers will invest in developing new plant-based products, followed by clean labels (37 per cent) and low calorie (34 percent)
  • Broadening product ranges to appeal to flexitarians (48 per cent) and vegans (47 per cent) was the most common reason for plant-based investment

OCTOBER 2021: New research commissioned by Atura Proteins[1], UK-based manufacturer of naturally produced pulse protein ingredients, reveals food and drink brand owners and manufacturers are most likely (56 per cent) to invest their new product development budgets in the development of plant-based products in 2022.

Broadening product ranges to appeal to flexitarians i.e., those who eat a plant-based diet without eliminating meat completely (48 per cent), and vegans (47 per cent) was the most common reason for plant-based investment, with interest from retail customers and environmental concerns both on par (36 percent).

Of the 102 UK-based food and drink professionals surveyed, four in ten (41 per cent) believe that meat alternatives, plant-based substitutes for meat such as mince, will be the biggest growth category for plant-based foods, followed by cereals (13 per cent) and cheese (12 per cent).

A third of industry professionals (34 per cent) claim that difficulty of sourcing ingredients is the biggest barrier to developing plant-based products. More than a quarter (29 per cent) claimed the biggest barrier was consumer resistance related to taste and formulation issues.

Paul Donegan, Commercial Development and Marketing Manager at Atura Proteins believes that the development of plant-based products needn’t be complicated. 

He said: “Our research suggests that plant-based is a big priority for professionals in the food and drink industry, tapping into evolving vegetarian, flexitarian and vegan consumer diets. The increase in demand presents a significant opportunity for food and beverage brands.  Our survey suggests that decision makers may have challenges sourcing some plant-based ingredients which may reflect the supply chain pressures brought about by increasing demand.

“The plant-based food market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.9% from 2020 to 2027[2], and there are now an estimated 8.7 million flexitarians in the UK[3], so it’s a great time for businesses to think about tapping into the market.” 

Atura Proteins manufactures pulse proteins at a facility in Somerset, UK, offering a regional source of supply for European customers with potentially reduced food miles. Pulses such as chickpeas, fava beans and red lentils provide high levels of protein.  Crucially for the food industry, Atura Proteins offer unique functionality in terms of texture and structure building; a key part of product formulators toolkit.

Furthermore, with protein fortification high on the agenda, incorporating plant protein to deliver a source of protein claim is important for product formulators. More than half (55 per cent) of decision makers confirmed that developing protein fortified products typically came in response to demand from more health-conscious consumers.

Paul continued: “Protein is enduring in its popularity and the trend towards protein fortification shows no sign of slowing. Coupled with the trend towards plant-based, food and drink manufacturers, there is a real opportunity to consider alternative protein sources, like fava beans, chickpea and red lentils, to help deliver optimal food and beverage products for consumers.”

The other key areas of new product development for 2022 include clean labelling, using as few ingredients as possible and ensuring they are natural, which 37 per cent of industry professionals believe will be a key area for investment and low-calorie options that a third of respondents (34 per cent) see as a growth area.

About Atura Proteins

Atura Proteins is a new and innovative manufacturer of a range of naturally produced pulse proteins and flours. The Atura Proteins offering is based on a strong foundation of technical competency in manufacturing, food application expertise and market led insights. Atura Proteins produces Chickpea, Fava Bean and Red Lentil proteins at its UK based manufacturing facility. Atura Proteins is part of the Marigot, a group primarily focused on producing naturally derived products and ingredients for the international food, nutrition and agri-business sectors.

To learn more about Atura’s services, visit Atura and LinkedIn 

[1] Survey of 102 food and beverage decision makers in the UK, conducted by Savanta in October 2021


[3] YouGov survey estimates 13% of UK population are flexitarians. ONS Survey estimates UK population is 67 million. 13% of 67m =  8.7m

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