Plant-based Protein Food Products: Perceptions from the Greek Food Industry
The food industry is under pressure to improve food production and reduce its impact on the environment. Furthermore, consumers today are increasingly shifting to more sustainable diets. In this context, plant-based protein sources appear as a promising solution. This study investigates the perceptions of company representatives operating in Greece who produce or intend to produce, food products containing plant-based proteins. Based on 360 responses, this quantitative analysis a) identifies the main drivers and barriers for consumer acceptance of these products, b) ascertains the most popular choice (word and phrase) on their labels, and c) explores variations in key marketing factors such as organoleptic characteristics, price, and promotion of plant protein-based products versus those with animal protein sources. According to the findings, “human health” is the prevailing incentive to shift to the consumption of plant-based protein food products. Additionally, “reluctance” is the predominant barrier for consumers to change their eating habits. Regarding the use of words and phrases on labels, the word “plant-protein” and the phrase “high in vegetable protein” were found to be the most popular. Furthermore, there is an agreement that both the organoleptic characteristics and the promotional strategies of plant-based protein products and animal-based protein products, are or should be similar. Interestingly, the majority of respondents noted that the price of plant protein products is or will be higher compared to animal protein products. This study provides meaningful insights into the food and beverage industry and companies that either have or will have products with plant-based sources of protein.
Keywords: alternative proteins, alternative products, plant-based proteins, plant-based substitutes, food industry, business perceptions
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