Trending Now: Plant-Forward

We mentioned it in the last issue, but with all the activity around the plant-forward movement, it bears further exploration in this edition. Consumers are what’s keeping the plant-forward engine running, and they consider increasing their vegetable consumption an ongoing lifestyle choice and some even a necessity for their health. According to a 2018 trendspotting report from Datassential, 22 percent of consumers are increasing their fruit and vegetable intake, and 49 percent report choosing plant-based foods because they are viewed as healthier options.

We recently convened a plant-forward culinary summit at the Culinary Vegetable Institute to help chefs tackle the challenge of incorporating new plant-based products into their menu offerings and offer healthful options without compromising on taste. We asked our own Chef Yury Krasilovsky for his take:

“Historically, chefs have looked at plant-forward dishes in an all-or-none way—vegetarian or vegan,” Krasilovsky says. “While that might appeal to a vocal minority, chefs are now discovering a middle way, where limited amounts of animal protein are included and popular dishes are remade with less meat and more legumes or veggies.”

For example, many chefs are finding success substituting traditional semolina wheat pasta with plant-based alternatives such as legume pasta. It is a simple way for chefs and operators to tackle the plant-forward trend without ditching the kind of profitable comfort food favorites that customers love.

Barilla Insight: We see this trend growing in prominence and traction with an ever-wider array of consumers. The many roads – animal welfare, environmental concerns, personal health, etc. all lead to a simple and intuitive solution in plant-forward foods. And since it’s not about abstaining from anything or going 100% vegan or vegetarian, it’s easier to make it a lifestyle and not a crash-and-burn diet. It’s partly why we’ve invested the R&D and launch of our new legume pastas.

Here are a couple of examples from our ambassador chefs, and more innovative ideas from Chef Yury coming out of the summit here.