It’s burger night in your household and you slap three delicious patties on the grill only to find they’re leaking…beet juice? Plant-based meat alternatives are getting more convincing – and they’re continuing to gain traction among American consumers. According to a survey conducted in August 2021 by the International Food Information Council (IFIC), about two-thirds (65%) of Americans reported eating “products that attempt to mimic the flavor and texture of animal protein but are made with only plant products” in the year leading up to the study – with 20% consuming them at least weekly and another 22% consuming them daily. Another 12% said they had not consumed plant-based meat alternatives over the past year but would like to try them in the future. A previous IFIC survey also found that 24% of adults were consuming more protein from plant sources and 19% were eating more plant-based meat alternatives. Similarly, a January 2021 survey found that 28% had tried plant alternatives to animal meat for the first time in the past year.

Respondents indicated a variety of reasons for why they might choose to consume plant-based meat alternatives. Healthfulness led the pack, with 39% ranking it among their top three reasons, followed by these products being a source of high-quality protein (34%), liking the taste (33%), environmental/sustainability benefits (23%) and health claims/certifications (23%). Roughly half of consumers cited the nutrition facts label (52%) and the ingredients list (49%) as one of their top two ways to confirm their reasons for consuming these foods.

Of those who choose plant-based meat alternatives because of perceived product healthfulness, the top three most sought-after benefits were high quality/complete protein (43%), heart health (41%) and protein content (40%). 

When respondents were asked about their interest in certain alternative protein sources, over half (56%) ...