The plant-based market is projected to be worth $162 billion in the next ten years and has grown 43% in the past two years despite challenging shopping environments brought by COVID-19 (Source). At this year’s Plant Based World Expo in New York City, experts from around the world came together to discuss top consumer behaviors driving this unprecedented growth and what the future could look like.
The conference included several educational sessions for food professionals to learn from industry experts on a range of topics across the plant-based revolution. During the session, “The Meaning of Clean Label-Communicating with the Empowered Consumer,” Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition’s Tia M. Rains, PhD, VP of Customer Engagement & Strategic Development, joined a group of industry experts to discuss ‘clean label’ initiatives and what key factors are most important for driving continual growth to support consumer needs.
When asked the question “What does ‘clean label’ mean to you?” there were a variety of perspectives from the panelists with several core themes centered on transparency, intentionality, and nutrition. For Tia, clean label means focusing on taste and nutrition, especially reducing sodium in plant-based products, to ensure we are doing right by consumers. “There is confusion and self-definition by individual consumers, and I am hopeful we can find a place where science drives action and not just perceptions that aren’t based on science.”
She further emphasized this point stating, “The real question is… who is benefiting from ‘clean label’? If it is just the ingredient manufacturers and not consumers, we have missed the mark. People are turning to alternatives because of nutrition. That said, we need to ensure that these plant-based foods are safe and nutritious.”
With over 15 distinct categories of plant-based foods now available for consumers to choose from, there is a big opportunity to create options that use a science-focused approach to achieve great taste, improved nutrition, and safe consumption. Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition understands that delicate balance of taste and nutrition and is excited to continue partnering with manufacturers who are innovating for the future of plant-based products. To see some of our plant-based solutions, visit [Plant-Based Protein Ingredient Solutions | Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition (ajihealthandnutrition.com)]