Specialty Food Magazine


Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 89 of 139

But it's not only about the various milk options. Plant-based options for products such as yogurt, frozen desserts, and ice cream, creamers, and cheese are also driving consumer interest. According to Nielsen Market Research Product Insider, sales of ice cream with vegan claims grew 53 percent during the year ending May 27, 2017, and non-dairy varieties saw the highest dollar sales growth of any ice cream subcategory, reaching $110 million, a 49 percent increase from the previous years. The report notes that now we have delicious vegan RTD iced coffee, cashew-based cheeses, and more novelty and indulgent 'ice creams' that emulate their dairy counterparts in f lavors and variety. Several product lines are particularly garnering attention in the specialty food world. "Daiya is one of the strongest performers in the plant-based category," says Titus Striplin, director of national accounts, KeHe. "It is an example of a company that continues to improve legacy product recipes while staying committed to innova- tion in the space." Daiya has recently expanded its reach from traditional plant-based cheese slices and shreds to newly formulated pizzas, Greek-style yogurt, sauces, and a decadent gluten-free coconut cream-based 'cheesecake.' Doug Obenhaus, grocery manager for Royal River Natural Foods, Freeport, Maine, says he sells a ton of products from Miyoko's Creamery whose offerings include butter and cheese alter- natives. "Our customers love that they have a non-dairy soft cheese option," he notes. In addition to Daiya and Miyoko's, Nielsen also highlights Califia Farms and NadaMoo as companies that are introducing consumers to more premium non-dairy products that rate in taste and quality. Meatless Marvels. Though far from mainstream, plant-based meat producers targeting both millennials and Gen Xers, have made alternative proteins more desirable and tasty. Some are so fashion- able and burger-realistic they bleed, (thanks to beet juice), ooze fat from plant-based oils, and are worthy of sitting next to their cow-counterparts in the meat case—like the recent addition of the California company Beyond Meat's Beyond Burger to the meat case at select Kroger stores. According to Reuters, burgers made from plants instead of animals captured more space on U.S. barbecue grills last summer, and fueled sales in the niche category that could reach $5 billion globally by 2020. "The explosion of interesting and better-tasting meat alterna- tives—like the Beyond Burger—is helping get people excited about plant-based ingredients and gives them an eagerness to experiment," says Michele Simon, founder and executive director, Plant Based Foods Association. "These companies are pushing the envelope to help give consumers an experience that really emulates meat," she notes, adding that showcasing a plant-based meat in the meat case is a way to reach new consumers and help the category go mainstream. Bareburger, a New York-based fast-casual franchise that sells organic grass-fed burgers and beyond, is doing its part to give plant- based burgers more mainstream attention. Select locations now have the Impossible Burger on their menu—a plant-based 'burger' made from ingredients like coconut oil and protein from wheat and potatoes as well as natural f lavors, and micronutrients. The burger contains a molecule called leghemoglobin or heme, that is geneti- cally engineered from the roots of a soy plant, helping it mimic the sensory characteristics of beef. Evolving Protein for Fitness Fans. The plant-based foods move- ment is also helping drive change in the health, fitness, and nutra- ceutical space by creating new protein alternatives for old-guard favorites like soy and whey. According to Mintel's 2017 Global Food and Drink Trend report, "Power to the Plants," aspirations for healthier and cleaner lifestyles are motivating consumers to prioritize fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and botanicals in their diet. Consumers are dem- onstrating high interest in nutritional and performance drinks with fruits or vegetable mix-ins (41 percent) and nuts, seeds, or grains (32 percent). Spearheaded by small and new brands in the category, launches of plant-based nutritional and performance drinks have increased from five percent in 2015 to 13 percent in 2016. "Cities like New York and LA are experiencing a huge fitness boom with a growing number of 20– and 30-somethings opting to Aloha Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder (left); Carrington Farms Organic Coconut Protein Blend WINTER 2018 87

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