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Plant-based foods still falling short of consumer expectation, says Kerry

(Source: Bigstock)

Nutrition company Kerry says its research shows many Aussies are still disappointed by the taste of plant-based foods, even though they are more open to alt-meats.

The research shows that 60 per cent of Aussies purchased plant-based products because they want to be healthier and 51 per cent say they will continue buying meatless alternatives as it is good for the environment.

The company carried out the research with more than 1500 consumers across four countries – the US, the UK, Australia, and Brazil – to find out what consumers think about plant-based burgers and alt-cheese slices.

Flexitarians – the key consumer group driving the growth of plant-based – are more critical of alt-meat and alt-dairy products than vegan and vegetarian consumers. Given that flexitarians still eat meat and dairy products, their plant-based taste expectations are driven more by these experiences than vegans or vegetarians.

Kerry says its research shows that while sustainability is a top driver of consuming more plant-based foods, consumers are unwilling to compromise on taste and want products that are as close as possible to the taste experience of animal products.

Kerry found that 76 per cent of consumers are willing to buy a plant-based burger described as ‘authentic chargrilled tasting’, 74 per cent of Australians expect a burger with a meaty firmness to have great texture and 62 per cent of Australian consumers expect a burger that cooks like beef with a satisfying sizzle to be delicious.

Kerry says consumers desire “products with improved succulence and a ‘bite’ that feels as close to meat as possible”. Moreover, they also seek products that arouse the same feelings when cooking as real meat. They also want meat alternatives that offer better nutrition.

“With plant-based foods, the demand for a great taste experience is universal,” said Kirsty Down, national account director and commercial lead of meat & savoury at Kerry Australia and New Zealand.

“However, delivering a great taste experience involving the full sensorial experience of sight, sound and texture is highly complex and in plant-based foods, it is inherently more challenging because the bar is set high with meat as the benchmark, particularly among Australia’s flexitarian consumers.”

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