More and more people are consciously choosing a healthier, often plant-based or vegan diet. Not only do we have to deal with changing customer choices, ingredients and consumption habits are also changing. One thing is clear: vegan is and will remain the trend for the future! We would like to tell you more about how you as a bakery can respond to the vegan trend.
New ingredients, new customers
The time we live in is full of changes and developments. Innovations are also taking place in the field of raw materials and ingredients. In addition to the well-known meat substitutes, there are now vegetable-based products, such as the vegan kebab based on celeriac and chocolate spread based on parsnips. Everything indicates: veganism is becoming more popular. We are also seeing more vegan applications in the bakery sector.
Research shows that more than 40% of European consumers are actively working to reduce their consumption of meat and dairy. This leads to an ever-increasing demand for plant-based or vegan alternatives.
It is striking that it is precisely non-vegans who are fueling the rise of plant-based products. This has to do with the rise of ‘flexitarian’ diets, where people (aka flexitarians) strive to reduce their consumption of meat and fish. Younger and middle-aged consumers in particular embrace this lifestyle: 69% of young people between the ages of 18 and 34 indicate that they eat flexitarian several times a month, followed by 51% of Dutch people between the ages of 35 and 44. In Belgium, 79% of young people (18 to 34 years) are willing to do without meat or fish a few times a week (Source: Myfoodspot.eu).
Why consumers choose vegan
In the new group of customers, we see various reasons why people choose to consciously consume fewer animal products. This is because there is more awareness of the negative consequences that animal products have on animal welfare, the climate and one’s own health. For people with certain intolerances, such as lactose or egg intolerances, vegan products are a solution.
The main reason for consumers is that consuming plant-based food is better for their own health. A plant-based diet has various health benefits, such as a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, a reduced risk of diabetes, a reduced risk of certain forms of cancer and can lead to a healthier weight.
After that, contributing to a better climate and animal welfare is mentioned most often. A diet without meat ensures lower greenhouse gas emissions; up to 60% less compared to a normal diet (source: Dutch Association for Veganism) and leads to better use of agricultural land.
We also notice that the demand for vegan products in the catering sector is growing strongly. Restaurants and hotels increasingly want to distinguish themselves from the competition. The range of vegan restaurants that specialize in only vegan dishes is also growing. As a baker, you can respond intelligently to this by providing the third channel with plant-based applications. Think beyond pastries: you can also serve catering customers from the bakery with vegan desserts (ice cream!) and pancakes.
The different underlying reasons for choosing vegan and diversity in demand means that everyone is looking for something different. The customer, both private and business, wants to have a lot to choose from and that is why variety in your bakery range is important!
Why would you start with vegan as a baker?
There is a growing need for more sustainable products in the market.
Even though more consumers are choosing to (partially) switch to plant-based products, consumers still want the tasty treats they are used to. Plant-based and vegan applications that meet these expectations form a solid basis with little risk to have in your vegan range, because there will be sufficient consumer demand for them.
Depending on the region in which your bakery operates, there may be more demand. For example, there will be more demand for vegan products in urban areas. Demand is expected to spread to the rest of the country.
The demand for vegan products will increase further in the coming years, both among consumers and in the catering industry. By responding to this growing demand with relatively little supply, you, as a baking entrepreneur, fill the gap in the market. This way you can easily attract a broader customer base, including vegans, flexitarians, people looking for a new dining experience, people with certain allergies and environmentally conscious consumers.
New products are launched frequently. 14 percent of these products are vegan. Large companies and major brands are also embracing this trend. For example, Hema launched their first vegan apple pie. This turned out to be a bull’s eye: the cake was so popular that it was sold out everywhere in the first week after launch. There will be more space for plant-based and vegan products on the shelves in supermarkets: with an increase of more than 13.3% in shelf space in 2022 (source: Distrifood).
Moreover, research has shown that consumers are willing to pay a slightly higher price. As a result, the sales price of vegan alternatives is often slightly higher than the regular range, especially when they receive a high-quality product in return (source: ProVeg Consumer Survey, 2020). You can use this to your advantage and generate more turnover!