I recently had the opportunity to attend two very interesting food and beverage trade shows. First the Supply Side West (SSW) show in Las Vegas, followed by the Private Label Manufacturer’s Association (PLMA) show in Chicago. I was able to visit with several GHJ clients attending these shows and also get a sense of where the industry is heading as 2019 nears. While there were many great products on display at each show, one trend came into stark clarity: the movement towards more plant-based foods is the wave of the future.

We have seen consumers are keen to purchase plant-based foods for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Increased focus on healthy lifestyles by younger consumers
  • Concern for the environment and sustainable food sources
  • Worries about the impact that hormones and antibiotics included in meat and dairy products

A recent study commissioned by the Plant Based Foods Association discovered that sales of plant-based foods grew by nearly 20 percent for the trailing 52 weeks ending June 2018, compared to only a 2-percent increase in sales of total food products over the same period. Some of the biggest drivers of growth in the plant-based space during that time period include plant-based cheeses (sales growth of 43 percent), plant-based creamers (sales growth of 131 percent) and plant-based yogurts (sales growth of 55 percent).

According to research performed by the Oxford Martin School, a change in dietary patterns toward more consumption of plant products and less on meat products could have tremendous positive results. The study estimated that a global switch to such a diet could save up to 8 million lives by 2050 and reduce greenhouse emissions by as much as 66 percent. This trend is well on its way with food delivery service Just Eat reporting that for the year 2017 that the demand for healthy meals increased by 94 percent. Additionally, the research firm GlobalData noted that the amount of Americans who identified themselves as vegan rose by 600 percent since 2014. We noted a wide variety of products being made with plant-based ingredients – everything from plant-based milk and ice cream to plant-based pizza crusts and pasta, and often you could not tell they were not made using traditional ingredients!

This trend has also led to an explosion in plant-based protein products, which was obvious at the SSW show. There were many vendors marketing plant based protein powders and supplements, including Axiom Foods, a leader in the rice and pea protein space. Lux Research estimates that plant-based protein products could represent up to 1/3 of overall protein sales by 2054, and this estimate seems conservative when you witness the increase in companies moving into the industry.

All companies in the food and beverage industry should be aware of these trends and identify a business advisor familiar with the plant-based food market. If you have questions or need assistance with strategizing on how to grow your own business in this area, please contact GHJ at www.greenhassonjanks.com or 310-873-1600.

Holoubek Andrew Halfbody

Andrew Holoubek

Andrew Holoubek, CPA, has more than 10 years of public accounting experience and provides auditing services for clients in a variety of industries, including manufacturing/distribution, food and beverage, health and wellness, technology, consumer products, financial services and nonprofits and…Learn More