Isn’t it time plant-based foods get a week in the spotlight?
With demand for plant-based foods surging globally, isn’t it time we dedicated one week of the year to this exciting category? At Plant-Based Foods Canada (PBFC), we certainly think so. That’s why we are so proud to launch our first ever Plant Based Food Week from March 21 to 25, 2022.
But first, a little background.
Notably for retailers, the recent statistics around this industry’s growth are truly eye-opening. In the year leading up to January 2, 2021, Nielsen data tells us that demand for plant-based foods grew by 26 per cent, significantly outpacing conventional foods (plus nine per cent).
As for the public, Canadians tell us they’re still curious to know more. According to Leger Research data from 2021, two-thirds (67 per cent) of Canadians consume plant-based foods frequently, and 31 per cent plan to eat more plant-based foods within the next year.
With both retail demand and shopper interest at all-time highs, PBFC and its members decided to launch Plant Based Food Week. The goal is to inspire Canadians to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet either by trying new meal options or by making swaps in their favourite recipes. The foods have never tasted better, been easier to prepare, or been more available on shelves. We’ll promote the week heavily on social media, and you can follow along with hashtag #PlantBasedWeek.
The plant-based food space is particularly exciting here in Canada, where we are home to some incredibly entrepreneurial plant-based companies. They are creating innovative new foods and ingredients, sourcing inputs from across the country, creating jobs, and further establishing Canada’s position as a leader in this industry. There’s been significant international interest, too, as companies invest in Canada and establish facilities to be close to pulses, oats, hemp and other crops used in modern plant-based foods.
However, a strong ecosystem of Canadian plant-based food producers only paints half the picture of the industry’s recent success. The other is having open-minded retailers who see the opportunity in front of them and are willing to stock shelves with these exciting new products.
Rob Mikulec, national merchandising director (Seafood, Deli, HMR and Plant Based Protein), for Sobeys grocery stores said, “Many of our customers love our wide range of plant-based food options. We’re glad to participate in the Plant Based Food Week so that others may also have a chance to learn about the potential benefits of adding plant-based options to their diets. We also like to be able to support our supplier partners with showcasing their plant-based assortment across multiple meals and occasions.”
With such strong recent growth in the plant-based foods industry, our PBFC members saw the opportunity to create a week where we can showcase these foods to an interested Canadian public. We’re looking forward to bringing that to life on social media and encourage Canadian consumers to choose plant-based foods more often this March 21-25.
Leslie Ewing is the executive director of Plant-Based Foods of Canada.