Plant-based food has exploded in recent years as more consumers embrace healthier lifestyles and take proactive steps to reduce their carbon footprint. About a decade ago, you rarely found products like almond milk or vegan butter on grocery shelves. But times have changed—today, almost every food product now has a plant-based alternative.
At this point, there’s no denying that plant-based foods have taken over the food industry. The shift in dietary preferences shows in the market data, so much so that business owners have taken action. Moving forward, it won’t be surprising if more plant-based food companies and plant-based food stocks get introduced to the market. Continue reading to learn more about their future in the industry.
Plant-based food is precisely as its name suggests—it’s food that comes from plant sources. Plant-based food includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, and soy. Given their rising popularity among consumers, food businesses are constantly releasing innovative plant-based products like alternative meat and dairy.
Looking at the numbers, the plant-based movement is undoubtedly booming and here to stay. Bloomberg forecasts that the overall market can grow explosively to $162 billion in the next decade—a massive increase from $29.4 billion in 2020. Given this outlook, it’s no surprise that many businesses are jumping on the bandwagon and shifting to plant-based food. Here’s why:
Health is perhaps the biggest factor driving growth in the plant-based industry. Even before the pandemic, many were already exploring vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, and flexitarian diets for different health benefits. However, COVID-19 accelerated this shift as more people turned to healthy lifestyles to avoid getting infected.
With consumers actively seeking plant-based alternatives, it’s only natural that businesses are trying to meet their demands. Some have embraced the movement fully, while others have expanded their product range to include plant-based food. This way, they can cater to all customers’ lifestyles and provide healthy, delicious meals.
Today’s generation is more conscious than ever about its impact on the planet, so businesses are taking strides to incorporate sustainability into their operations. Fortunately, shifting to plant-based food is a great way to embrace the cause.
For context, meat production is known to have destructive effects on the environment. It requires tons of resources, emits high levels of greenhouse gases, and produces a significant amount of waste that goes into oceans. Conversely, plant-based foods put less pressure on the environment as they consume fewer resources and emit fewer greenhouse gases. So by shifting to plant-based ingredients, your business can make a huge difference.
With plant-based diets taking the world by storm, famous celebrities, athletes, and influencers have also joined the movement. As such, many innovative plant-based products have become viral through social media, news channels, podcasts, and even movies. This type of media attention can give any business a major boost in sales and branding, making it a strategic move to enter the plant-based food space.
As mentioned, health is the main reason attributed to the surge in demand for plant-based food products. To better understand this, here are some known health benefits of incorporating more plant-based food into your diet:
Plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are packed with nutrients like antioxidants and flavonoids, which help reduce inflammation. Studies have also found that vegan and vegetarian diets were linked to lower levels of the C-reactive protein (CRP), a substance indicating the presence of inflammation in the body.
It follows that consuming plant-based whole food lowers the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes, given that these are caused by overactive inflammatory responses. More specifically, plant-based foods are high in fiber and low in saturated fat, so they won’t cause your cholesterol to spike up or cause plaque to build up in your arteries.
Being rich in fiber, plant-based foods are a good source of prebiotics, which improves gut health by nourishing the good bacteria in your body. They promote diverse microbiota to boost your immune system and make your body more resilient to health concerns.
Research has shown that people with plant-based diets tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who consume meat regularly. One study also found that a low-fat plant-based diet is more effective for losing weight and keeping the weight off than a keto diet.
Overall, plant-based food allows you to manage your weight more effectively and even aids in weight loss in a healthy way. This is because it consists of fiber-rich whole foods that keep you filled and give you enough nutrients—without piling on the calories.
If you’re interested in exploring plant-based whole food for your business, you’ll first need to find the right distributor to help you out. Ideally, you should work with a trusted and reputable supplier who sources ingredients ethically. There are many ways to scout for distributors, but here are a few places you can look at:
Start by doing a quick Google search based on the type of plant-based food distributor you need. For example, if you have an online store, you should check if the supplier has e-commerce functionalities for integration.
Or, if you run a restaurant chain, you may need a supplier that provides warehousing and logistics solutions to meet your demand. One company that does this is Sunleaf Foods. They have a unique cold chain program that involves high-quality sourcing ingredients, storing these in cold warehouses, and shipping them in pallets to your location.
Supplier directories are another valuable source to find distributors for your business. These online resources provide updated lists of wholesale suppliers that service a wide range of industries. You can easily filter the list to display food suppliers, then sort through the options for potential candidates.
Make sure you still do your due diligence by researching each supplier on the list to learn more about the company. Check out their background, product range, and the origin of their ingredients to see if they’re a good fit for your business.
Shifting to plant-based food can have a huge impact on your business. Aside from capitalizing on the growing market, it also allows you to promote healthy food options and integrate sustainability into your brand.
If you’re in search of a plant-based ingredient supplier you can rely on, Sunleaf Foods has your back. We work with the entire supply chain, from producers to packers, to ensure that you always get safe and top-quality plant-based foods. Call us today at 949-899-6285 for more information on our products.