60% global consumers aged 18 to 44 expect food brands to have a plant-based option

New Global research on plant-based indulgence across confectionery, bakery, pastry and ice-cream commissioned by Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa, shows that three out of four (74%) respondents aged 18 to 44 claim to eat plant-based chocolate occasionally.

Early 2020, in a similar research in Western Europe, only 25% said they consume plant-based or vegan chocolate options. End of 2021, ​​almost two thirds (64%) of consumers in Western Europe say they sometimes consume a plant-based chocolate product.

60% of global consumers aged 18 to 44 want broader offering

Millennials and Gen Z (aged 18 to 44) are more likely to actively look for a plant-based diet. The research shows that six out of ten (60%) expect food brands to offer a plant-based option versus four out of ten (43%) for Gen X and Boomers (aged 45 to 75).

The research also shows that one third (34%) of global consumers are prepared to pay more for a plant-based option. Gen Z & Millennials (42%) are more prepared to do that than older generations (25%). In the UK specifically, the figure is up to 59% of consumers aged 18 to 44 who expect food brands to offer a plant-based option and 42% that say they are ready to pay more for it.

When it comes to plant-based milk chocolate, two thirds (67%) of Millennials & Gen Z (18-44) are interested in a broader offering. Similarly in other segments, one of the main motivations to consume plant-based is trying something new: biscuits (33%), bakery and pastry (36%), ice cream (36%). In the UK, 69% of respondents (age 18-44) say they think more flavors and textures should become available in plant-based milk chocolate.

On average, four in ten global consumers say they have been consuming more plant-based products over the last 12 months. When asked to think about the future, almost half (44%) of global consumers expect to increase their consumption of plant-based products. That is almost three out of four (72%) for flexitarians. For the UK, the picture is similar, and in regard to the near future, almost half plan to eat more plant-based foods.

Health and taste as key motivations to eat plant-based chocolate in the UK
Globally, the key motivations to try plant-based chocolate treats are: health (43%), liking the taste (41%), and bringing variety to their diet/trying something new (34%), before concerns about climate change and animal welfare. While three quarters (76%) realize that plant-based food can taste differently. Only 12% say it is because of allergies. In the UK, the motivations are similar with health (43%), taste (43%) and variety (32%) ranking first. Globally, the key barriers to eating plant-based chocolate are: taste concerns (28%), price too high (25%) and (19%) say they don’t know enough. In the UK, price is the top concern (34%) even before taste concerns (30%).

The consumer research shows that from vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, lactose free and plant-based, the latter is the most effective claim. Dairy-free and lactose-free claims ‘only’ gather 16% of appeal compared to other dairy restrictive claims.

Veganuary pop-up shop ‘PlantCraft’

In January 2022, also known as Veganuary, Barry Callebaut is opening an online pop-up shop to celebrate the plant-based boom. Brands can explore a wide range of delicious plant-based creations in confectionery pastry, bakery, drinks & ice-cream. Over fifty indulgent treats imagined by chefs are available to shop or to download the recipe books.

Sofia Popova, Marketing Director EMEA at Barry Callebaut: “Various consumer research show plant-based chocolate is receiving more interest. Consumers today simply expect every brand to offer a plant-based option and they welcome a variety of flavours and textures. For a lot of brands across food categories the journey only starts now. A confectionery or biscuits shelf today is very far from yogurts, milks or ice-cream in terms of choice of plant-based offers. That is why this Veganuary we open a pop-up shop to invite brands to explore what their next plant-based innovation could taste like.”

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