By FoodProcessing Staff | May 18, 2015
Previously viewed as tempeh-loving fringe dwellers, vegetarians are now far more widely accepted – so much so that as many as 26% of consumers now consider themselves to be ‘flexitarians’ (those who prefer a more plant-based diet but still eat meat occasionally), according to a Nutrition Business Journal survey.
Food companies are now responding to the growing demand for vegetarian food offerings by releasing a greater variety of prepared vegetarian offerings in the form of shelf-stable, refrigerated and frozen products, David Despain writes in an article in the May issue of Food Technology magazine, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).
While soy and wheat have traditionally been the primary staples of vegetarian protein, rising allergy trends have driven a greater variety of plant-based protein sources such as pulses, ancient grains, nuts and seeds.
Product labels now tend to centre on ‘vegan’ and ‘no animal ingredients’, but allergen positioning is gaining ground, and some manufacturers are eschewing vegan positioning to appeal to a broader consumer base.
Pea protein, rice protein, almond, coconut and quinoa are gaining popularity as gluten and soy avoiders and paleo dieters grow in number.
Three ‘hot’ ethnic flavours on the rise in the vegetarian market, Despain says, are Indian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean.
The full Food Technology article is available here.