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The Analyst’s Take: Top takeaways on plant-based consumers

Plant-based consumers are not a monolith. Nutrition Business Journal's analysis shows that people of color over-index in the category; many are low-income earners.

Claire Morton, Senior Industry Analyst

April 14, 2022

1 Min Read
The Analyst’s Take: Top takeaways on plant-based consumers

Nutrition Business Journal and NEXT Data and Insights compiled consumer research from June 2021 on the plant-based consumer from a nationally representative base of 1,000 U.S. consumers. Here are the top three takeaways from the report.

Plant-based is mainstream. There are two primary types of plant-based consumers: Those who are choosing to eat a largely plant-based diet, about 18% of consumers; and a larger number, about 33%, who are turning to the options to reduce meat consumption because of health concerns. The percentage of consumers who eat meat alternatives or don't eat meat has increased significantly to 44% in 2021 from 35% in 2015, moving the category well beyond niche.   


Plant-based is diverse. The plant-based consumer base is broader and more diverse than brands may assume. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) consumers over-index as plant-based eaters when compared to total U.S. consumers, with Black consumers indexing the highest among these demographics. Research also points to plant-based consumers being strongly represented across the income brackets, with a notable number who make less than $30,000 a year.

Plant-based is multifaceted. While the majority of plant-based consumers are looking to reduce meat consumption to manage their health, many consumers are also seeking options that consider the treatment of animals and health of the planet. Both groups over-index by at least 20 percentage points on concern for how livestock is treated and avoiding meat and poultry raised with antibiotics due to human or animal welfare concerns.

Plant-Based Foods Market Analysis

Learn more in NBJ's Plant-Based Foods Market Analysis, the industry's go-to guide for data and insights the plant-based consumer.

About the Author(s)

Claire Morton

Senior Industry Analyst, New Hope Network

Claire Morton is the senior industry analyst for New Hope Network’s Nutrition Business Journal. She manages NBJ’s data and insights to inform the industry on market trends and forecasts in natural and organic food and beverage, functional food and beverage, dietary supplements and personal care.

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