Part of this comes from consumers better understanding that plant-based proteins can provide a lot of the same benefits as animal protein without the side effects.
Once a niche market, consumer passion for plant-based proteins as an alternative to meat is moving into the general marketplace. The result is a wide variety of snacks whose primary protein source derives from peas, lentils, nuts, beans and chickpeas.
More grocery shoppers are seeking out and trying “better-for-you” foods, especially dairy- and meat-free alternatives, according to a new national health food study by Earth Balance. 42% of consumers said they know more about plant-based diets now compared to five years ago, and 43% are more likely to try plant-based alternatives today. 13% also report trying a vegetarian lifestyle.
The ongoing popularity of protein-rich foods and the rise of meat-free diets have ultimately converged in the form of a new food category: plant-based protein snacks. While some of these snacks are made from familiar vegetarian protein sources such as tofu, others use superfoods such as quinoa, lentils and hemp to provide that extra nutritional boost.
Currently, there is a new gluten-free whole grain that’s gaining momentum as a snack ingredient. Sorghum is an excellent source of fiber, is rich in protein and helps to convert your food into energy. Sorghum is already being incorporated into breakfast cereals and baked chips with popped sorghum a popcorn alternative. Expect to see sorghum next year in more and more protein bars, crackers and gluten-free bread.
If you’d like to add more simple plant proteins to your diet, consider these high protein plant-based nuts and seeds: