Plant-Based Eating Continues to Dominate the Food & Wellness World in 2018

The times are definitely changing. Last year, heading into 2017, my healthy eating instincts had me buzzing about Whole Food Plant Based being the new Clean Eating. A broad, oftentimes vague term, clean eating is used to describe eating simply prepared food with health-minded intentions. On days at the office when this strategy is most effectively executed, clear thinking and high levels of productivity are undeniable.

As the holiday season marches on, and a new year brings reflection, it has become evident that eating considerably more food sourced from plants is powerfully influencing a global food conversation, while fueling overall industry growth.

One Green Planet, a major digital publisher targeted toward millennials and committed to redefining GREEN living, cites mega food producer Nestlé, as seeing plant-based foods as a dominant trend in industry sales growth. Nestlé, noted at a recent investor summit, the rising desire of consumers groups to bring more plant-strong options to the masses.

According to Nestlé, plant-based business is booming, with 87% of Americans consuming plant protein for example, and nearly two-thirds doing so one or more times weekly. The move away from meat is due largely to increasing consumer concern over the ethical treatment of animals, personal well-being and sustainability.

Consumer’s relationship with plant food seems to be changing. Plant-based eating is beyond niche now.

According to research firm HealthFocus International data, 17% of U.S. consumers aged 15 to 70 currently claim to eat a predominately plant-based diet, while 60% report to be cutting back on meat-based products. Of those who are reducing their intake of animal-based proteins, 55% say the change is permanent, and 22% hope that it is.

Plant-based options are popping up in multiple categories beyond meat.

Just looking at food market shelves stocked up for this holiday season, it’s hard to miss the shelf space now dedicated to plant-inspired versions of traditional holiday fare. Some of these plant-powered alternatives include Turkey-less (and turkey-like) roasts, nut-sourced gourmet cheeses, dairy-free cheesecakes, spray cans of coconut whipped topping and Almond Nog. Even classic apple pie can now be prepared using a plants-only crust. As for the ‘a la mode’, a few frozen bananas and a high performance blender are poised to delight holiday guests.

In early 2018, an Ohio-based ice cream shop will begin shipping, the first ever, retail pints of their banana-based frozen dessert across the US. With supermarket big brands such as Häagen-Dazs, Ben & Jerry’s and Breyer’s dipping into dairy-free plant-based options already, this trend shows no signs of slowing down.

MORES FOOD TRENDS

Functional Mushrooms — Mushroom powders including chaga, reishi, lion’s mane and cordyceps are popping up in bottled drinks, coffees, teas, broths and cocoa-related products. Body care is embracing this mushrooming trend with soaps and hair care too.

Hi Tech Plant Foods— Even Bill Gates, an investor in Impossible Foods, a California-based startup making meat from plants which is indistinguishable from the real thing, believes that vegan burgers that bleed are the future.

Root to Stem — A cooking style which utilizes the whole fruit or vegetable, including parts less commonly eaten like the stems and leaves.

Goth Food— Activated charcoal, made by carbonizing coconut shells at high temperatures and known for digestive cleansing is popping up in ice cream, lemonade, lattes and pizza crust.

Cannabis Cuisine — While Federal law prohibits the possession of marijuana in most states, the food trend appears to be growing beyond pot brownies. As more states legalize recreational marijuana, the snack and beverage categories are expected to reach new highs.

OTHER SIGNS OF THE PLANT-INSPIRED TIMES

The shift to a greener lifestyle is attracting prominent athletes with careers that depend on sustained peak performance. For many now, kale and fiber is preferable to taking hormones and steroids.

Kylie Irving of the Boston Celtics credits a vegan diet to his boundless energy, speed and endurance on the court. Retired 4 time NBA champion and plant-based lifestyle advocate John Salley attributes a reverse in his dangerously high cholesterol to the vegan life. Plant eating players have discovered this diet fights game-related inflammation and helps them to recover faster.

Five-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady eats a mostly plant-based diet. The NFL-er incorporates some lean meats, but 80 percent of his diet comes from plants.

PLANT-CENTERED FOOD MANUFACTURES SOW SEEDS OF CHANGE

Chicago-based Phyter Food company (www.phyterfood.com), the creator of the first all farm vegetable-based nutrition bar just announced receiving a million dollar investment to take their bars national.

PLANT-BASED EATING TURNS INTO A GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT

PlantPure Communities (www.plantpurecommunities.org), a nonprofit founded by Nelson Campbell, director of the food film documentary Plant Pure Nation is bringing evidence-based nutrition programs, resources, tools, and knowledge to disadvantaged communities in order to make them stronger, healthier and more sustainable. In recognition of “the enormous confusion surrounding nutrition that has resulted in skyrocketing food-borne chronic disease and the challenges that many people face in making long-term changes to their diet”, PPC is connecting the dots so all can seize the opportunity to be a thriver.

I share plant pure food finds and healthy ‘fast food’ recipes on Instagram at http://instagram.com/wholefoodieronna (@WholeFoodieRonna)and tips for getting started on the plant-powered path on Twitter https://twitter.com/Eat4EnergyRonna (@Eat4EnergyRonna).

“So what is my prescription for good health? In short it is about the multiple health benefits of consuming plant-based foods….I know of nothing else in medicine that can come close to what a plant-based diet can do.” T. Colin Campbell, PhD

Food and diet trends come and go. This one is turning out to be revolutionary.

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