A Feast Of Flavor in the Plant-Powered Culinary Landscape

Article January 02, 2024 nan

In an era where the pursuit of health and sustainability has taken center stage, plant-based food and beverages have emerged as a beacon of hope for conscious consumers worldwide. The concept of nourishing our bodies while minimizing the environmental footprint is a powerful and transformative idea. “Plant-based” is used to describe a recent consumer trend of avoiding animal-based products and choosing plant-based alternatives instead, reducing the amount of animal-based foods in diets overall, or following dietary regimes that are characterized by a greater or even sole focus on plant-based foods. The global plant-based food market is expected to reach 77.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2025. In U.S. retail alone, plant-based foods are an $8 billion market. Research conducted by Credit Suisse reveals that 66% of consumers between the ages of 16 and 40 across ten different countries have intentions to increase their expenditure on plant-based meat and dairy alternatives in the coming years. Nonetheless, significant avenues for product development and improvement persist, with a particular focus on enhancing taste and cost-effectiveness within the plant-based meat category.

Consumer Demographics

Below-mentioned are the highlights of the survey conducted by GFI: • Of all U.S. households, 42% purchase plant-based milk, which equates to more than 50 million homes, up from 37.2% in 2019. • Of households purchasing refrigerated plant-based milk, 76% are repeat purchasers, up from 73.6% in 2019. • Almond milk is the category leader in the USA and generated $1.5 billion worth of sales in 2019-20. • U.S. Consumers of plant-based products are willing to pay more for products that consider environmental, social, and governance factors.

What does the current trend in intellectual property reveal about the level of interest within this technological domain?

Over the last two decades, a total of 1,186 patent families have been disclosed within the plant-based food and beverage technology sector. There has been a relatively steady pattern of patent filings (quantified by the count of patent families) from 2003 to 2018, followed by a noticeable upswing in the last two years. This surge can be attributed to the growing demand for plant-based alternatives, driven by environmental concerns associated with animal-based food production. Additionally, the lighter-colored segment of the graph accentuates the publication trend of all members within the patent families, revealing a consistent upward trajectory in recent years. This implies that the assignees have been augmenting their publications per family, strategically expanding their existing patent portfolio to enhance the overall number of publications within a given patent family.

In which geographic regions are innovations most commonly preferred?

The United States stands out as the predominant market for plant-based protein products, driven by factors such as the substantial presence of leading plant-protein manufacturers, increasing awareness of vegan products, a robust economy, and elevated investments in research and development for food processing equipment. Notable key players based in the U.S. include Burcon Nutrascience, Solae, Danone, among others. In Europe, enterprises such as Nestle, Unilever, DSM, and others are extending their presence in the plant-based food industry. The increasing demand and ready accessibility of raw materials, such as soybean, for the production of plant-based milk, are significant contributing factors. It is expected to grow its market in the near future. As per a report by Nielsen, Germany in Europe is the largest market for plant-based milk, yogurt, and cheese alternatives. In the Asia-Pacific region, encompassing Japan, China, Korea, and India, the market for plant-based protein processing equipment is experiencing substantial growth and expansion. The region, characterized by numerous emerging economies and a progressively aware population regarding environmental and health considerations related to non-vegan food, has resulted in a higher market share. Key players based in the Asia-Pacific region include Cargill, Fuji Oil, Amano Enzyme, Ajinomoto, among others.

Which companies are the prominent players in the domain of plant-based food and beverage technology?

The key players are categorized into two groups: B2B Ingredient Suppliers and B2C Food & Beverage. Both B2B and B2C suppliers play crucial roles in the plant-based food industry.

B2B Ingredient Suppliers:

B2B suppliers are essential for the industry's backbone, providing key ingredients like plant-based proteins, oils, and flavor enhancers, ensuring a reliable and high-quality supply chain. Fuji Oil stands out as a prominent B2B ingredient supplier, boasting over 60 years of expertise in researching, developing, and providing plant-based fats and oils. Burcon NutraScience, a leading manufacturer of plant-based proteins and ingredients, possesses an extensive patent portfolio encompassing innovative plant-based proteins derived from pea, canola, soy, hemp, sunflower seeds, and more. Solae an international soy ingredients supplier, is primarily dedicated to research and development, focusing on techniques to eliminate off-flavors in various soy protein-based products such as desserts, beverages, non-dairy creamers, and frozen confections. Amano Enzyme, a pharmaceutical company based in Japan, is expanding into specialty enzymes and actively filing patents that primarily utilize enzymes like protease, amylase, cyclodextrin glucanotransferase, and deamidase for producing vegetable-based milk products. The ingredients for these products include nuts, coconut, and chickpeas.

B2C Food & Beverage Suppliers:

B2C suppliers directly engage with consumers, offering a wide array of plant-based products ready for retail. Their importance lies in meeting the increasing demand from consumers who are actively seeking plant-based alternatives. Nestle and Danone's extensive range of plant-based products in the current market is mirrored in their patent portfolio within the domain. Both companies offer a diverse array of food and beverage items, including milk, creams, and various dairy alternatives. The American food conglomerate Quaker Oats and the Swedish food company Oatly are prominently engaged in oat protein research, featuring products like oat milk, whole grain oat flour, non-dairy whippable items, health drinks, and cheese analogs. Ajinomoto, a Japanese multinational food company, capitalizes on its expertise in umami, kokumi, and food enzymes for researching and developing plant-based products, particularly focusing on flavor and texture enhancements. This includes techniques such as adding meatiness and juiciness while masking any undesirable beany flavors and reducing sodium content in plant-based food products. Notably, Ajinomoto has recently expanded its focus to include compositions for plant-based cheeses. Together, the collaborative efforts of B2B and B2C suppliers contribute to the sustainability, innovation, and widespread adoption of plant-based foods in the market.

What are the primary challenges addressed in patents related to the plant-based food and beverage industry?

The plant-based food industry encounters various challenges that influence its expansion and progression. Predominantly, patent families in this sector concentrate on resolving concerns related to either organoleptic properties or nutritional profiles. Achieving taste and texture akin to animal-derived products stands out as a notable hurdle for the plant-based sector. Despite continual innovations targeting various aspects and diverse challenges, the improvement of sensory qualities remains a central focus for industry leaders. Patents focused on organoleptic properties typically strive to improve the taste, texture, aroma, or visual appeal of a food product. Conversely, patents emphasizing nutritional profiles aim to enhance elements such as protein levels, fiber content, and vitamin composition, reduce fat or sugar content, or are directed towards the incorporation of antioxidants. Moreover, a significant area of concern pertains to patents that underscore the improvement of health benefits in a food product, including addressing and preventing diseases like heart diseases and diabetes. This focus extends to properties such as hypoallergenic qualities and low cholesterol content, among other health-related attributes. Addressing above-mentioned multifaceted challenges is pivotal for the sustained success and mainstream acceptance of the plant-based food industry.

Future Outlook

The future outlook for the plant-based food and beverage industry appears promising, marked by sustained growth and evolving consumer preferences. Increasing awareness of environmental sustainability, coupled with a growing emphasis on health and wellness, is driving a shift towards plant-based diets. As technological advancements continue to enhance the taste and texture of plant-based products, consumer acceptance is likely to further increase. The industry is expected to witness continuous innovation in product formulations and diverse offerings, catering to a broader audience. Collaborations between food manufacturers, retailers, and research institutions are likely to accelerate, fostering the development of novel plant-based ingredients and expanding market accessibility. Moreover, as regulatory frameworks adapt to accommodate the unique characteristics of plant-based products, barriers to entry may decrease, encouraging more players to enter the market. Overall, the plant-based food and beverage industry is poised for continued expansion, driven by a combination of consumer demand, technological advancements, and a growing emphasis on sustainable and healthy food choices.

Some of the key highlights from our report include

• In-depth exploration of the latest patent trends in Plant-based Food & Beverage, with a focus on key industry players • Thorough analysis of market trends within the Plant-based Food & Beverage, including insights derived from patent trends. • An informative look at assignee trends, featuring top patent holders and an overview of major players in the field • A comprehensive examination of technology trends sheds light on the innovative focus within the industry. We understand that different businesses, regions, and countries have unique requirements, and we are fully equipped to provide customized reports tailored to your specific needs. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any specific requests. If you're interested in accessing our exclusive report, just fill in your details, and you will get the report right in your inbox!

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