Catch of the Day: Tapping into the Plant-Based Seafood Market

It is crucial to not just build a flavor for a plant protein dish, but also build an experience.
It is crucial to not just build a flavor for a plant protein dish, but also build an experience.

The flexitarian trend has consumers around the world hooked, and that presents a new wave for innovations in the plant-based meat market. Plant-based seafood comprises just 1% of the current market sharea, but research indicates this number will continue to rise. Much of this opportunity is propelled by the shifts in consumer behaviors because of COVID-19. In fact, ADM Outside Voiceb research reports 18% of U.S. alternative protein buyers purchased their first plant-based meat alternative in March and April 2020, and 92% of those consumers said they are likely to continue purchasing plant-based foods.

Alternative seafood is a fresh option for consumers to explore. In the United States, 26% of plant protein consumers are interested in trying plant-based fish and 34% are interested in trying plant-based shellfishc. New varieties and formats of plant proteins will help meet the demand for creative meal planning and dietary diversity.

Enchanting the Sensory Experience

In the United States, 64% of consumers are motivated to select plant-based meat alternatives because of their perceived nutritional benefits. Concerns for the environment and food safety are other top contenders. Regardless of the reasons behind the choice, to fully capture consumer attention, the product must taste great. ADM research indicates 70% of global plant protein consumers rate taste and nutrition as equally important, and flavor is king in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany, where more than a quarter of consumers believe it’s more important than nutrition.

Gaining consumer acceptance for seafood alternatives requires a positive sensory experience encompassing flavor, appearance, aroma, texture and cooking performance. While much progress has been made in developing these attributes, there is still room for improvement. More than 50% of flexitarian consumers agree that meat alternatives need taste improvements, and more than 20% say that texture needs to be improved.


aSPINSscan Natural and Specialty Gourmet (proprietary), SPINSscan Conventional Multi Outlet (powered by IRI), 52 weeks ending 2019-Dec-29

bADM Outside Voice is a trade name of ADM

cADM Outside Voice, “Global Plant Protein Consumer Discovery Report,” August 2020

For the full article, please check out the Perfumer & Flavorist+ June 2021 issue.

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