Going plant-based makes sense – for our health and the planet – and it’s a growing market. Find out how we’re using cutting-edge food technology to develop textures and flavours that meat- and dairy-lovers enjoy and put more plant-based options onto mainstream menus
Looking for a simple, actionable way to improve your health, lower your carbon footprint and help protect the planet for generations to come? Look no further than the food on your plate.
By choosing to eat more plant-based foods you can drastically lower your carbon footprint, conserve the world’s water supplies and help ensure that vital crop resources are fed to people, rather than livestock.
Sounds like a quick win, right? And the global appetite is there. Research by says 26% of global consumers are looking to increase their intake of plant-based foods, and 58% are doing so for the health of the planet. In the US alone, reported following a plant-based diet in 2020, compared to just 290,000 in 2004. Analysts are bullish too, predicting 12% growth and estimating the market will be worth $74.2 billion by 2027.
But in order for the majority of the world to make that shift, eating plant-based needs to be affordable, easy, convenient and most of all – tasty too.
This is where Knorr can make a difference, championing a wider variety of foods grown in a sustainable way and using the power of flavour to overcome barriers that stop us from eating for good. “Our aim is to get food that’s good for people and the planet on seven billion plates by 2025,” says Knorr’s Global Brand Vice President April Redmond. “And we’re making progress; this year Knorr grew significantly. Today, nearly 15% of our products contain – ingredients that are nutritious, healthy and kind to the planet – by 2025, 25% of our foods will include Future 50 Foods and 50% will be plant based,” she says.
This growth has gone hand in hand with innovative products and solutions that make it easy for consumers to add, try, cook, swap or buy tasty plant-forward ingredients. On World Food Day, we celebrate three examples that are helping more households enjoy delicious planet-friendly dishes at mealtimes.
Plates: Inspiring chefs to add sustainable ingredients to their menus
Encouraging food professionals from young chefs to blue-chip industrial caterers to add plant-forward dishes to their menus is just one of the jobs on the plate of Alex Hall, Executive Chef for Unilever Food Solutions, UK & Ireland. “It’s about ease as well as inspiration,” Alex says, “showing kitchens the benefits of simple, sustainable food swaps such as using sweet potato rather than potato or trying plant-based alternatives such as whipped tofu instead of whipped yoghurt,” he adds.
One of the initiatives Alex’s team is proud of is the series of recipes created by Knorr Professional chefs and nutritionists for Sodexo, one of the world’s biggest industrial caterers that feeds people at hospitals, offices and universities across the world, with thousands of locations in the US, France and the UK.
“We created a set of street food style recipes using Future 50 Foods ingredients such as lentils, spinach and kale in dishes such as curries, kebabs and tacos that people usually associate with meat. These were trialled in ‘Finer Diner’ pop-ups at five universities throughout the UK.
“It was great for Sodexo because the food and pop-up experience appealed to Gen Z who are increasingly turning towards vegan diets, and it’s another step forward in making plant-based food choices mainstream,” he says.
Products: Making plant-based a tasty and convenient option
Time constraints from work, childcare, and commuting mean there will be days when any time spent in the kitchen is too much time. In fact, the market for convenience foods and ready-to-eat meals is predicted to grow annually by .
Finding ways to serve nutritious foods that save time in food prep and ensure plants are on the menu has led Knorr to develop products that suit the needs and tastebuds of the global markets they serve. In Turkey and France, it has seen the creation of Ezogelin soup and ‘Super Soups’ packed with nourishing and protein-rich lentils and quinoa. In Russia, easy-to-prep mini meals contain grains such buckwheat, spelt, sesame seeds, hemp seeds and flax seeds, while in the US, the world’s second-largest grower of spinach, Knorr has developed a wholegrain Spinach Florentine pasta that dishes up fibre, iron and minerals in minutes.
“With these products and recipes, Knorr is making eating plant-based foods convenient, simple and delicious. We are hopeful that this will help people move to a wider variety of plants and less meat,” says Dorothy Shaver, Global Marketing Sustainability Lead for Knorr.
Platforms: The recipe site adding a Future 50 Foods twist to traditional dishes
is a popular online destination for Mexican households looking for tasty meal ideas for every occasion. Earlier this year, to celebrate Knorr’s inaugural World Eat For Good Day, the site launched a selection of traditional recipes with a twist – a key ingredient was swapped for a (F50F). Each recipe included information on the ingredient, including health benefits and its impact on the environment.
One of the site’s most popular recipes was the corn tortilla dish which got 116,488 page views and included sautéed nopal – an edible cactus from the same family as the prickly pear, which can be used as a green bean or green pepper replacement. The F50F recipes also spurred further search and demand for cactus recipes and other F50F ingredients, the most popular being spinach, cactus and quinoa.
Making plant-forward choices easy today and everyday
“We believe nutritious and delicious food should be within the reach of everyone. Finding easy and tasty ways to do that is key and through Knorr’s platforms, recipes and products we aim to do that,” adds April.
And World Food Day is no exception. If all this food talk is making you hungry for sustainable change, check out our social feeds for more fun and inspiring recipes that will help you add plant-forward food, dishes and flavours to your plate.
Want to change the world? Start by changing the food on your plate. On 19 February, Knorr is launching World Eat for Good Day to inspire everyone to make simple ingredient swaps to shake up meals to increase their nutritional value and reduce their environmental impact.
As the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan’s nutritional journey celebrates its ten-year milestone, we look back at what it has achieved and forward to what’s next on the journey to deliciously responsible food.