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What’s that ingredient in plant-based?

As plant-based diets gain popularity, the raw materials making up the products take center stage too. Explore the ingredients leading the shift.

The manufacturing of plant-based alternatives has traditionally been aimed at replicating the taste, texture, and nutritional content of animal-based products. However, as we discussed in our previous post, consumers are increasingly seeking more authentic flavors, taste, and enhanced health benefits.


This in turn has led to a diverse range of newer raw materials being used in the plant-based space, so much so that the global plant-based ingredients market is expected to reach $10.4B by 2032.  Interestingly, traditional ingredients still retain their top spots, especially among plant-based dairy alternatives.


The original meat and dairy alternative going back hundreds of years to China, soy milk made an appearance in the rest of the world only in the latter part of the 20th century but it is still going strong today. Soy has also been a staple food in traditional vegetarian cultures like India. Serving as a major source of protein, vitamins and minerals, soy seamlessly integrates as a versatile plant-based ingredient in both foods and drinks.


The not-so-new ingredient on the block has taken the plant-based beverage world by storm, becoming synonymous with dairy alternative. It continues to be the fastest growing, with widespread adoption in foodservice. The versatility and adaptability of oats along with its capacity to be a clean-label product sets it apart.



The popularity of the almond as a dairy alternative goes back to medieval Europe and some say even earlier in the Middle East. Known for its subtle yet sweet flavor, almond milk took on new life with the rise of plant-based diets becoming a top choice. However, concerns around nut allergies and environmental impact, especially excessive water usage, are challenging its leading position among plant-based beverages.

What else in beverages?

Some of the other more common ingredients include rice, coconut, peas, lupin, and cashews – each with its unique characteristic catering to diverse dietary preferences. Take rice with its hypoallergenic qualities or coconut offering a creamy, tropical flavor. Another rising star, peas, is making a splash with its high protein content while lupin is a rich source of essential nutrients.

Complexity in plant-based foods

Consumers here want innovation in flavor and taste, going beyond meat alternatives. They are no longer happy with just a vegan burger patty but look for products that offer variety in their plant-based diets. Vegetables and legumes need to be stars but with a side of protein.


No wonder soy, mushrooms, hemp, and pea protein are among established ingredients. Jackfruit, seaweed, and seitan are some other niche but trending raw materials that add exciting taste and texture possibilities to plant-based foods. Not to forget Brewers Spent Grain, a byproduct from brewing beer, the latest versatile material with immense potential.


The matter of packaging

Whatever the ingredient, processing and packaging it right is vital. This is where SIG can help with our decades of expertise in filling plant-based products and a wide range of spanning cartons, spouted pouches, and bag-in-box. Reach out to learn how we have supported producers across the globe to stand out in the plant-based market.

In the next part of the series, we examine the core challenges in plant-based production and how is the sector pushing boundaries. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and make sure you get the next story in your inbox. Or even better, download our exclusive report on plant-based with insights from the SIG category expert.

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Post date
  • tháng 6 06, 2024
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