The EIT food communication project ‘The V-Place’, coordinated by Germany’s University of Hohenheim, intends to improve acceptance and reach of plant-based alternatives in Europe. Its recent research reveals insufficient levels of diversity in plant-based products available and a lack of consumer-orientation, but anticipates this will improve.
The V-Place focuses on six European countries, namely Germany, Denmark, France, Italy, Spain and Poland. The demand and supply for vegan alternative products has increased in all countries in recent years, but many plant-based offers are inadequate and do not fully meet customer demands.
Experts consider solely the current range of plant-based milk alternatives to be comparatively diverse, which can be illustrated with the global plant-based milk map as revealed this World Plant Milk Day. Outside of plant milks, the European plant-based market is summarised as not yet sufficiently diversified, with too few cheese, egg and fish alternatives.
Even the contemporary plant-based meat market is rated as average, as there is claimed to be an overly strong focus on burger patties, sliced meat and sausages. Whilst an increasing number of supermarkets and discounters, most recently the German discounter giant Penny, are introducing their own plant-based meat alternatives, the product ranges rarely exceed the horizon of mentioned items.
However, the project experts anticipate far-reaching improvements in the future, with country-specific and culinary offerings that are healthier and more sustainable than current products on the market. Overall, the range of vegan alternative products is expected to increase significantly. To this end, ‘The V-Place’ project, which is carried out in cooperation with Danone and ProVeg International, plans to carry out cross-country communication work to promote a plant-based future.
“We want to bring this type of nutrition closer to the population in Europe – with solid information that can be understood by everyone,” explained the project leader, Klaus Hadwiger from the Research Center for Bioeconomy at the University of Hohenheim. “There are still many misconceptions about plant-based nutrition. We would like to change that.”