I am joined by the CMO of Change Foods, Irina Gerry and the Founder of the Vegan Women Summit, Jennifer Stojkovic to discuss the State of the Plant-based Foods and Innovation Industry.
Is the sector dead? Has the media gotten it wrong? Is there positive data to report? Where is the sector headed? Have your own thoughts? Share them with me on Linkedin.
Specifically, we discuss
- Why is there so much negative press? When did it start? Is there any truth to it?
- What is the media getting wrong on consumer adoption, behavior and perception, and environmental?impact and food insecurity issues that the plant-based industry solves.
- Where is the sector headed and what is needed?
- Predictions for the next 5-10 years.
Below is a short clip and transcription from our long-form discussion.
Elysabeth: Last word from you guys, what do you think about what I said? I’m starting with Jenny, what is your prediction for the sector in the next five and ten years?
Jennifer Stojkovic: In the next five to ten years, I think we’re going to have hybrid products become part of the regular consumer diet, certainly in North America. I think that we are going to see price parity matched in certain protein categories, certainly some of the higher priced ones. There’s a lot of companies that are tackling high end Wagyu beef and things like that. We could very easily meet those.
I also think that we’re going to have Gen Z-ers in a major buying position. We already do have them, and they think and act very, very differently and there’s a lot of storms that you can weather if you build brand loyalty. So, if we do this correctly in the plant-based space, we can ride the Gen Z high with them.
Elysabeth: Yeah, I love it. Irina, next five and ten years?
Irina Gerry: I’m getting optimistic on you. I think, first of all, that plant-based is here to stay. Not because we want it to, but because it has to. Given the population growth, the climate change, right? The climate is affecting food. Food’s affecting climate but climate is affecting food in a very real way and the fact that we have this massive rising middle class in Africa and India and Asia Pacific that is demanding these high protein foods and the tastes are evolving, we are literally at this mathematical impossibility.
We cannot continue to use these legacy systems and continue to supply fifty percent more products so just given the math and the Earth’s boundaries, I think it dictates that protein sources get diversified and that I think to me includes whole food plant-based, just veggies, plant-based options in a spectrum from the healthiest to maybe the most treat-like and some animal foods.
You know, my hope is that now that we are seeing Gen Zs really, actually caring quite deeply about the environment and are connecting the dots between, not just their fossil fuel and energy habits but also between their food habits, and we have these technologies that are scaling that are getting so much better. Just look at the progress.
Five years ago, a version of a plant-based burger was a bean burger and now we have Impossible. Five years from now it’s going to be healthier, it’s going to be more nutritious, it’s going to have more fiber and vitamin B12 and you name it and it will be more delicious and it will be price parity.
So, we cannot look at this exact little moment in time and make any conclusions. I think it’s going to continue to develop. It’s not going to be a slam dunk but I see the growth accelerating one hundred percent in the future.
Elysabeth: I couldn’t agree more. For environmental reasons alone, we are at the beginning of an S-Curve adoption pattern. I think Plant-based Innovation is going to make the products better, tastier, cheaper, healthier and indistinguishable. I also think that consumers will adopt these products because they like having optionality. So it isn’t all or nothing. It isn’t all meat or all plant-based products. It will be a mixed plate and over time, almost unwittingly, the plate will become more and more plant-based.
In short, when you have all major stakeholders in the food system: governments, industry and consumers, wanting the same thing, you have a megatrend. Not a trend and certainly not a fad, but a megatrend.
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