Plant mania: natural plant-based nutrition

Plant mania: natural
plant-based nutrition

What’s next for plant-based foods?


“Plant mania” stands for embracing plant-based nutrition in our diets. For us at AGRANA Fruit, plant-based nutrition is nothing new. Our business is firmly rooted in plant-based agriculture. We leverage this legacy and provide sustainable and innovative products to feed the world naturally.

The plant-based food market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.9% from 2020 to 2027 to reach $74.2 billion by 2027 (Source: Metilicous Market Research). This growth is mainly being driven by consumer concerns around sustainability, naturality and health. This makes the “plant mania” topic a crossroad of three of our six global megatrends: act for future, leverage nature, and forever young. Important issues for many consumers nowadays.


Already one third of consumers globally follow a mainly plant-based diet and 4 out of 10 consumers want to reduce or avoid animal-based products in their diet even more (Source: FMCG Gurus). The global COVID-19 pandemic has further boosted consumer demand for natural and plant-based foods. 25% of consumers want to include more planted-based foods into their diet to improve their nutritional intake and their health, and to reduce their impact on the environment because of COVID-19 (Source: FMCG Gurus).


When we talk about plant-based nutrition, many automatically associate it with alternative products to dairy or meat, which is definitely part of it, but the scope is a lot broader. We have identified three main areas of plant-based nutrition where we can offer tailor-made solutions:

  1. Alternatives for dairy & ice cream
  2. Naturally functional ingredients
  3. 100% fruit & vegetable products (clean label)

What all three directions have in common is that consumers want to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets. This can be in various formats besides alternative products. For example with ingredients like fruit, vegetables, cereals, botanicals, or many other plant-based ingredients incorporated into both dairy and ice cream applications to boost plant-based.


At AGRANA Fruit, we are closely following the free-from dairy market for yogurt and ice cream. In 2020, we conducted consumer research in USA, Australia, Germany, France, and Russia to better understand dairy alternative consumers and what the next trends in this market will be.

We asked nearly 3,500 consumers online about plant-based dairy alternatives and these are the findings:

  • 60% consume plant-based dairy alternatives on a regular basis, meaning at least monthly.
  • Only 2% of consumers who regularly consume these products are vegan. The main target group consists of omnivores and flexitarians who also consume animal-based products but want to increase their intake of plant-based foods. Therefore, it is crucial to position dairy alternatives as plant-based foods rather than vegan foods.
  • The primary target group for plant-based dairy alternatives are Generations Y and Z.
  • The main drivers why consumers are turning to plant-based dairy alternatives are because they are “better for them”, because of the nutritional benefits and because they like the taste/flavor of these products. Environmental and ethical/animal welfare concerns only come after this. As mentioned above, dietary choices or restrictions play a minor role and are only the last reason for consumption.


Consumers are not satisfied with quality of protein and price levels are still a blocking point

Contrary to the widespread belief in the industry, consumers are actually satisfied with the taste, the naturality, and the vitamins & minerals in plant-based dairy alternatives. What consumers are however not so satisfied with in dairy alternatives is the quality of the protein, the sugar level, and the price of products currently available.

Especially the price is a main blocking point for further growth in this product category. As is visible in the graph from Mintel below, the prices of newly launched plant-based yogurts in 2019 and 2020 were nearly double in some markets compared to dairy yogurts. Making plant-based products more price-attractive will be key to wider acceptance.



Many consumers want to increase their consumption of plant-based foods while decreasing their intake of animal-based products. Therefore, what we see as an evolving and potential opportunity for the market are so-called “hybrid” products blending the best of both worlds: dairy and plant-based.

We asked consumers in USA, Australia, Germany, France, and Russia in our online study about their interest in such a hybrid product and nearly 80% would buy a hybrid yogurt if it was available at a reasonable price in their store. Especially for omnivores and flexitarians aged between 35 and 54, such a product is of high interest as it combines the taste and texture of dairy they like with the goodness of plants.


At AGRANA Fruit, we have a broad experience in working with plant-based solutions. Our expertise ranges from creating bases for yogurts or ice cream from various sources to even combining different plant bases in one product to enhance the nutritional profile.

We are also providing fruit and brown flavor solutions, with or without pieces, which perfectly match the plant or dairy base of yogurts or ice creams. In addition, we can also include botanicals or other plant-based ingredients in our preparations to add more plant-based ingredients to the final product.

We are looking forward to working with you on your next plant-plant based consumer favorite!


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