Infographic: Plant-based food alternatives – Future or Present?

The plant-based food revolution is happening and seems to be here to stay. The latest survey from Rakuten Insight indicates that many of our panelists have tried plant-based alternatives, and some products have already been accepted into diets across our panel markets, such as milk, cheese & meats. Most consumers regularly consume these products several times a week or several times a month.

A key reason for consuming alternatives is healthiness. This is a core benefit in the food category which should indicate a lasting place for alternatives in our diets. Other reasons such as trends & animal welfare are not so lasting, or mainstream, compared to healthiness.

In addition, there appears to be no common deep-seated concern across markets. This would indicate that there is no longer a natural barrier to acceptance of plant-based diets.

There is a high willingness to try lab grown meat, which five years ago may have seemed unlikely. So the plant based alternative market seems to have arrived.

Gender differences largely depend on the cultural context in the market, whilst age groups differences appear to be more universal. This would make sense in that the expectations of target consumers are being defined by the local brands communicating their products. Gender differences in attitudes and behaviours are likely to change as the category and the communication develops.

Accordingly, consumer aware brands such as McDonald’s have acted fast. McDonald’s launched their first plant based vegan burger, McPlant, made with a plant-based patty co-developed with Beyond Meat® promising to recreate the much-loved taste of McDonald’s but without the meat. The smart money would be that the McPlant and other alternative products will start as a success and become a staple part of the menu and our diets for years to come.

This story is part of our series on plant-based food alternatives. Full report available here.


The survey was conducted in November 2021 among 130,000 respondents from Rakuten Insight proprietary panels in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, United States and Vietnam.

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