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Setting Meat Aside

BY: Kelly Hensel
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InnovaMeals have moved beyond the meat and potatoes stigma of the past. In fact, according to Innova Market Insights (booth 2884), there are 120 million American consumers considered “flexitarians”—consumers that eat meatless once or twice a week. “In the past we had vegetarians,” explained Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights (innovadatabase.com), in her “Flexitarian Effect” presentation. “Now with flexitarians, we have a bigger range of products that appeal to them.”

Europe, and specifically Germany, is leading the pack in terms of innovation in this field. From 2011 to 2015, Innova reported a 5-fold increase in the number of flexitarian products launched. In addition to choosing meatless options, Innova reports that 34% of German consumers have reduced their meat consumption all together. For a country that is known for its love of wurst and schnitzel, this change in behavior signifies a seismic shift that brings with it huge opportunities for new product development. “The market is going to get much bigger, and in the future it [the flexitarian category] could really include everyone,” said Williams.

Innova sees the market dividing into two segments: the meat alternatives and the meat substitutes. And the successful growth behind both of these segments depends on ingredient and product innovation. For example, in Germany Valess Meat Free Sausage with Gouda is a sausage-like product made completely out of cheese. According to Williams, this is a growing trend in Germany, including the use of grilled cheeses marketed as meat alternatives. In the United States, where burgers are king, manufacturers are producing meat substitutes with innovative ingredients such as green asparagus, lentils, olives, tomatoes, nuts, and pulses.

“There will be massive demand for all kinds of protein ingredients going forward,” said Williams. In addition, she went on to say that “there will be endless possibilities to combine these ingredients in new products.”

Williams ended the presentation with a look at what’s next for the flexitarian category. For ingredients, jackfruit is one to keep an eye on because it looks like and cooks like meat. The Jackfruit Meat Company in the United States offers a range of jackfruit-based meat alternative products that claim a “meaty texture.” In addition, Impossible Foods just recently finished developing its Impossible Burger, which is plant based but that the company claims is so realistic that “even an uncompromising meat eater won’t be able to tell the difference.” Overall, Innova Market Insights foresees an increase in the number of “flexitarians” in the world, and therefore food manufacturers are going to need to respond with more and better options to meet their needs.

Top 10 TrendsInnova’s always anticipated Top 10 Trends are highlighted at the Taste the Trend pavilion. The following trends rounded out the list: 2) organic growth for clear label; 3) free from; 4) processing the natural way; 5) green light for vegetables; 6) creating a real link; 7) small players, big ideas; 8) beyond the athlete; 9) the indulgence alibi; and 10) tastes for new experiences.

New this year, the Innova booth offers the unique opportunity to see the trends presented via a virtual reality experience!

Three presentations are featured daily at Innova’s Taste the Trend Pavilion, according to the following schedule:
Noon – “The Flexitarian Effect”
1:30 p.m. – “Top 10 Trends 2016”
3:00 p.m. – “Taste & Indulgence in Dairy”


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