Thanks to the abundance of plant-based alternatives to animal products and the ever-growing awareness of animal welfare issues and the environmental and personal health benefits of a plant-based diet, more consumers than ever before are choosing meat-free options. Millennials are leading the movement with nearly half of those surveyed saying they ditch meat for environmental concerns, and in general, 43 million Americans choose meat-free meals, with 86 percent of them not even identifying as vegan or vegetarian. This new wave of “flexitarians” is having a major impact on the food space, and in a recent report, Mintel predicts vegan barbecue will soar in popularity this summer!

The report states that 33 percent of American consumers (and 37 percent of millennials) anticipate buying more plant-based foods in 2018. Melanie Zanoza Bartelme, global food analyst for Mintel, told Food Business News, “Although barbecue selection has become more diverse with the addition of fish and cheese in recent years, vegan barbecue might not have been a consideration for a meat-eater — until now.”

Mintel predicts that jackfruit will be popular for vegan barbecue options, with some brands like The Jackfruit Company preferred since their products are sold already seasoned and prepared. Additionally, super popular plant-based burgers that “bleed”, like the Beyond Burger and Don Lee Farms’ burger available at Costco, will also certainly make their way onto the grill.

According to the Plant Based Foods Association and The Good Food Institute, sales of plant-based food products rose by 8.1 percent just in the past year, and Nielsen estimated that plant-based meat alternatives made up 2.1 percent of retail sales of refrigerated and frozen meat products, and this trend will only continue to rise as conscious consumerism continues to spread!

To learn about the environmental benefits of choosing plant-based foods, check out the Eat for the Planet book!

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