Plant-based eating is considerably more in the spotlight these days than anything else. The regulatory and market environment will be favorable shortly, but consumer attitudes, perceptions, and knowledge will change for the positive for the business's potential to scale up.
Consumers encounter issues such as convenience, cost, store shortages, and so on. Some of them are also extremely hyped-up concerns, such as preferring organic items over appropriate ones, and the trend towards online purchasing, which has resulted from shop shortages in this sector.
However, players in the food industry must be aware of the problems and opportunities. These are some of the challenges that the plant-based food industry may face:
Concerns about the environment
The food industry is becoming increasingly concerned about environmental issues. Within the constraints of finite natural resources, a sustainable food system should supply enough nutritious food for everyone.
Current agriculture and food systems are under threat from current and future urgent concerns such as population expansion, competition for natural resources, climate change, wars, crises, food losses and waste. In these conditions, our agricultural landscape requires a shift to more environment-friendly food production methods and products.
Many plant-based meals are currently more expensive than their meaty counterparts. Plant-based proteins, for example, are more expensive to the customer than meat-based proteins (animal proteins). Plant-based brands, on the other hand, are more concerned with cost reduction as volume increases. Another game-changer for customers who believe the price of plant-based meals to be unnecessarily high may come when a new lower price opens the door to plant-based foods to new persons.
This one is becoming less and less of a problem as plant-based meals make enormous leaps in distribution, making their way into supermarkets, fast food chains, and a growing number of new markets. But still, it has a limited reach, particularly in nations like India, as it is only sold on a few websites and in a few local grocery stores.
Another difficulty related to this is a shortage of capital. In many locations, the plant-based business is currently underfunded, and a lack of capital is preventing most companies from attaining price parity. Consumers are price-sensitive, thus this is a huge roadblock to expansion.
Satisfaction of taste
Consumers may not continue to buy plant-based products if the flavor is not as satisfying as they expected since customers try to eat tasty food and may forgo nutrition if they do not find the right taste.
For instance, in contrast to meat substitutes, people most usually connect conventional meat with flavor. This suggests that flavor is a big factor in people's decisions to consume meat, making it difficult for the food business to match the flavor of meat substitutes with that of traditional meat.
How can we overcome these challenges?
Plant-based foods are susceptible to spoiling, sometimes even more so than meat and dairy goods. Consumers are well aware of this. More than half of the customers are concerned about the safety of plant-based dairy substitutes, and the other half are concerned about animal substitutes.
Clean label ingredients, sustainability, and eliminating food wastage are also popular points of concern among plant-based food consumers. They also choose a cuisine that is convenient and simple to prepare. All of these factors add to the already difficult issue of increasing the safety of plant-based goods.
Packaging has a significant role in food safety. Not only may it help increase the shelf life of plant-based meals, but it can also give manufacturers a chance to effectively express cooking instructions, expiry dates, and other safety information to consumers.
Despite the numerous plant-based food problems, producers have a big chance to please their customers; nevertheless, the hurdles must be solved as soon as possible!