USA, Tualatin, Ore. It is expected to see several emerging food and beverage trends change course as consumers cope with the coronavirus crisis in the US, said Suzy Badaracco, president of Culinary Tides Inc.
Prior to the pandemic, experts predicted momentum for meat alternatives, low- or no-alcohol beverages and sustainability-driven purchasing behaviors. The trajectory of these trends has been altered by the political and economic uncertainty created by Covid-19, Badaracco said in a new report.
Consumers may behave more conservatively and cautiously in the months to come, relying on food and beverages that provide comfort and familiarity. Such behavior does not bode well for plant-based meat alternatives, she noted. “It is clear from research that faux plant-based meats are consumed by meat eaters, not vegetarians, with curiosity being their driver,” she said. “As sales numbers on these products continue to slide, Covid-19 will push meat eaters back to animal protein at an accelerated pace, while vegetarians will celebrate plants being plants.”
The dairy category – with its winning combination of health attributes and comfort –also may benefit from changing consumer attitudes, Badaracco said. “A newer, more promising direction, which supports the current mood, is to hybridize the categories – an alliance between animal and vegetable protein, with vegetables maintaining their natural integrity and voice,” she added.