Fairs & Events

PBWE Europe Reveals Plant-Based 2.0 Trends, Highlights The UK’s Long-Term Growth

Ahead of the upcoming event and its return to London next month, Plant Based World Expo Europe (PBWE Europe), the largest 100% plant-based trade event in the region, provides insights on the present and future of the sector and unveils its predictions on food trends for what it calls the plant-based 2.0 industry.

PBWE Europe says it projects long-term growth for the UK’s plant-based food industry, with the market growing by 9.58% and London being “officially” the most vegan-friendly city in the world, according to the organisers.

The UK’s growth is framed under the global plant-based food market, expected to reach $115.3 billion by 2035, representing a compound annual growth rate of 16.5%.

dairy free products in Eastern Europe
Image courtesy of ProVeg International

Mirroring the market, PPBWE Europe says it is also experiencing growth and preparing for its biggest show yet — a 20% increase in exhibitors and registered visitors — despite the latest global economic challenges. 

In terms of demographics, a significant number of Gen Z consumers are cutting meat from their diet, with 59% of the generation potentially being meat-free by the end of the year, states the organisation.

Plant-based 2.0 trends: High-quality offers, vegetables, and clean label

Regarding trends, since plant-based shoppers spend 61% more than the average shopper (according to SPINS data), companies and retailers must provide a broader range of high-quality plant-based products to cater to high-value customers. Supermarkets can ensure customer loyalty by providing a diverse range of products, argues the organisation.

“The plant-based meat sector is hands down, one of the most innovative and forward-thinking categories of the food industry.”

In terms of food service, the industry is seeing a focus on choice and quality, with more restaurants offering plant-based options and even dedicated vegan menus to align with customers’ values. A trend that we will continue to see, says PBWE Europe.

Lidl Next Level
©Lidl

The plant-based sector is innovating with new proteins beyond soy and experimenting with unique textures. Vegetable-based alternatives to meat are gaining popularity in retail, restaurants, and catering. Symplicity Foods, a company fermenting vegetables to make plant-based meat, is pioneering the trend.

“We will see this trend continue as more out-of-home dining outlets as well as retailers will seek to offer meat alternatives made from vegetables,” says PBWE Europe.

While the argument against over-processed foods continues, clean labeling and transparency will continue to gain momentum in response to consumer preferences on flavour and health, states PBWE Europe. Innovative brands offering cleaner-label solutions using vegetables, such as  More Foods’ products made with upcycled pumpkin and sunflower seeds, will cater to the new demands of the plant-based consumer.

Revo Foods salmon filet on take-out tray
© Revo Foods

Seafood, affordable proteins, traditional techniques

According to PBWE Europe, the plant-based fish market is expected to grow. The category is poised to become a leader, with brands introducing innovative products and using algae to deliver omega-3 to reach nutritional parity with fish. PBWE Europe highlights OmniFoods’ golden fillet golden and Revo Foods’ 3D-printed salmon as examples.

The organisers also predict that more affordable plant proteins will become prominent in response to the cost-of-living crisis. In the UK, governments and institutions are tapping into the potential of other plant proteins, including peasbroccoli, and amaranth. At this year’s event, leading companies will showcase affordable solutions based on textured pea and fava bean proteins.

Traditional production techniques such as smoking and fermenting will become widely adopted by companies to make alternatives to local animal products. Handl Tyrol, an Austrian family business producing specialties such as Tyrolean ham, raw sausages, and roasts since 1902, applies the same techniques to its plant-based products, points out PBWE Europe. 

University of Cambridge plant-based
© Plant-Based Universities Cambridge

Campaigns and government action

More consumer-facing campaigns will take place in Europe to educate the public about the importance of sustainable consumption habits. For example, The Plant Based Universities campaign, active in more than 50 educational institutions, has changed the public opinion in favour of a plant-based food system. 

Veganuary, another successful campaign in the UK, Germany, and countless other countries, has a track record of encouraging consumers to adopt a vegan diet. PBWE Europe will celebrate the charity’s efforts by hosting a premiere of the film “It’ll Never Catch On: The Veganuary Story 10 Years On”.

Finally, PBWE points out that lobbying efforts for plant-based subsidies and investments to address the impact of animal agriculture on climate change will significantly increase. Governments need to take more measures to reduce the agricultural subsidies for the meat and dairy industries, as scientists urge a shift to plant-based foodsTo help address this issue, the Plant Based Food Alliance will run at this year’s PBWE Europe conference, the lecture “Uniting the Plant-Based Industry to Lobby for Growth.”

PBWE Europe, the largest 100% plant-based trade event in the region, provides insights on the present and future of the sector and unveils its predictions on food trends
© Plant Based World Expo Europe

The plant-based industry has expanded into all the F&B categories, from plant-based milk to seafood to snacks and ingredients, providing consumers with many options. Moreover, plant-based foods are gaining traction in retail, the public sector, the high street, and hospitals, due to their undeniable health and environmental benefits, concludes PBWE Europe.

Abigail Stevens, Marketing Director of JD Events (organiser of PBWE Europe), commented: “With innovation taking the plant-based industry to the next level, we’re calling on all areas of the wider food and beverage industry, governments, and the public to support this path we’re on – for the good of our collective health and that of the planet.” 

Samantha Derrick, founder and CEO of Plant Futures, said: “The plant-based meat sector is hands down, one of the most innovative and forward-thinking categories of the food industry.”

Plant Based World Expo Europe’s third edition will take place at Excel London on the 15th and 16th of November, 2023. Registration for the show is open.

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