In September 2021, we surveyed more than 700 of our panelists (all of whom purchased plant-based meat, dairy, or eggs in the three months prior to signing up) to understand their views on six plant-based protein sources: nuts, seeds, legumes, seaweed, algae, and mycelium. Our findings will be of particular interest to alternative protein makers — especially those working with algae or mycelium.
In short, we found that most plant-based buyers are at least “somewhat” interested in plant-based foods made from nuts or seeds. These consumers are slightly less familiar with “legumes,” but most are still interested in legume-based foods. Consumers are less familiar with and somewhat less interested in seaweed, algae, and mycelium.
There are varying levels of implied familiarity with the six ingredients covered in the survey. Only 4-5% of plant-based buyers say they “don’t know” how interested they would be in nut-based and seed-based foods. Familiarity is slightly lower for legumes (9% don’t know), seaweed (11%), and algae (17%). For mycelium, however, nearly half of consumers (47%) say they don’t know if they would be interested in trying mycelium-based foods.
When we remove the “don’t know” responses from our analysis, we find much the same story. More than 85% of plant-based buyers are interested in foods made from nuts, seeds, and legumes. Seaweed-based foods (67% interested) take the fourth spot and algae-based foods come in fifth. After removing the “don’t know” responses, consumer attitudes toward algae and mycelium are very similar. A majority of plant-based buyers (59%-60%) are interested in algae-based or mycelium-based products, but a sizable 41% say they are “not at all interested” in such products.
When consumers lack familiarity with a major source ingredient for plant-based foods, it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker. But it does make life more challenging when building your go-to-market strategies using terms that many consumers don’t know. Our friends who are building new food companies and technologies based on mycelium or fermentation probably have a good sense of this already.
If you need help understanding how to convey a complicated or unfamiliar ingredient or concept to consumers, research is often a great place to start. Moonshot Collaborative has the experience and know-how to help you navigate uncharted waters.