Trending Now: Plant-Forward is the Future
Unless you’ve been in hibernation for the past 18 months, you’ve most likely seen a fair bit activity around the “plant-forward” movement. It’s not just hype! Consumers are what’s keeping the plant-forward engine running, and they consider increasing vegetable consumption – and limiting animal proteins – an ongoing lifestyle choice or 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. And it’s not just vegetarians – a full 36% of self-described carnivores are looking to eat more plant-based foods.
To address this, Barilla recently convened a plant-forward culinary summit at the Culinary Vegetable Institute in Ohio, where the attending chefs tackled the challenge of incorporating new plant-based products into their menu offerings and offering healthful options without compromising on taste. We asked 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.
“Legume pasta is first and foremost pasta—a universally popular, versatile comfort food that is approachable for guests and profitable for operators,” Krasilovsky says. “With the legumes—either chickpea or lentils—as the single ingredient, this product has the health halo of the plant-forward and clean-label movements, and the protein positives of the legumes themselves, which are also naturally gluten-free.”
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.