ARLINGTON, VA -- A new report from The Food Industry Association (FMI) explores consumer perspectives on plant-based foods and highlights growth opportunities for naturally plant-based foods like U.S.-grown rice. The inaugural “Power of Plant-based Foods and Beverages,” made in conjunction with NielsenIQ, provides a rare comprehensive review of the growing plant-based category as it studies dietary patterns, motivations for consumption, and next steps for the overall category.
The report found that nearly half of shoppers put “some to a lot” of effort into choosing plant-based foods, with rice and other grains identified as the second most regularly consumed plant-based product category, just after fruits and vegetables. According to FMI’s Senior Director for Health and Well-Being, Krystal Register, key motivators for plant-based purchasing were taste and nutrition, which presents a major opportunity for the food industry “to provide guidance and educate consumers on overall healthy eating approaches that include plant-based options in alignment with the Dietary Guidelines.”
“With just over 52 percent of consumers eating more plant-based foods and 36 percent of all adults actually following a flexitarian diet, plant-based eating is here to stay, and that poses a significant opportunity for the rice category,” said Cameron Jacobs, director of domestic promotion at USA Rice. “What once was a niche category is now completely mainstream, with the $9.2 billion segment growing at three times the rate of the total food category. This report builds on what we know about plant-based eating, lays out the need to continue consumer outreach with messaging that revolves around rice’s role in plant-based diets, and positions U.S.-grown rice as the go-to naturally plant-based option for all those following plant-forward eating patterns.”
The report worked to help retailers and manufacturers increase their understanding of the range of topics related to the plant-based category and covered consumer plant-based perceptions on sustainability, eating preferences, marketing claims, retail merchandising, taste, and cost. Access the “Power of Plant-based Foods and Beverages” report here.