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11 actions for businesses formulating plant-based products

Ingredients Spotlight Part II

Insights to help you create and sell plant-based products that consumers want

Today’s consumers are invested in learning about what goes into their favorite products – with ‘clean’ and ‘healthy’ ingredients preferred, and biases or misconceptions held over certain ingredients.

This is even more prominent in purchasers of plant-based food and drink items, which come under greater ingredient scrutiny. 

No problem! ProVeg International recommends 11 actions for businesses that are keen on taking consumer ingredient considerations into play in product formulation.


plant-based ingredients
Source: Unsplash/Mulugeta Wolde

  • Research ingredients and audience thoroughly. You likely research your audience (we hope) before starting on your products, but have you ever looked specifically into ingredient drivers and barriers? When formulating a new plant-based product, explore consumer desires and opinions on ingredient choice. What does your audience want from a plant-based food product? Make sure to align your ingredients with your target audience’s preferences. 

  • Weigh up the pros and cons of using chosen ingredients before inclusion – it’s important to balance consumer purchase drivers with barriers. Include ingredients that are loved by consumers, and those that are less-favoured that increase flavor, nutrition, functionality, etc. Not all the ingredients you formulate your product with will achieve both. It’s important to strike a balance between pros and cons.

  • Consider judging ingredients by multi-functionality. By choosing an ingredient that serves multiple purposes in the product you can keep the ingredients list as small as possible – this is attractive to consumers and saves your company time and money. However, if you are seeking a clean label, some ingredients (for example, protein isolates) are extremely functional but also very processed. Which avenue you take will depend on your target audience, and desired final-product outcome and label. 

  • Whatever ingredients you opt for, aim for a final product that has premium taste and texture – since taste is the greatest factor driving consumers to make a plant-based purchase.1 Work with a tasting-and-feedback service (like ours) to ensure that your product will be a hit with consumers.

  • Work with ProVeg to learn more about what consumers want and formulations to create products that will achieve high sales.


formulating plant-based products
Source: Unsplash/Walter Otto

  • Innovate and invest – constantly look to develop and trial new and better ingredients (that consumers will love) for your plant-based products to stay ahead of trends and changing consumer preferences. 

  • Innovation requires cutting-edge technology, so brands should be prepared to continually invest in research and development (R&D). Established brands can either invest in upgrading their own production facilities or outsource the critical R&D to firms with specialist equipment and skills. 

Packaging and marketing

formulating plant-based products
Source: Unsplash/Franki Chamaki

  • Make sure your ingredient lists display ingredients clearly so that consumers can easily access the information.

  • Use natural-sounding (and less scientific-sounding) names for each ingredient on your product-ingredient lists.

  • Use packaging to highlight stand-out ingredients or counteract less favorable ingredient assumptions.

Missed Part I? Read the full article, here. Get in touch with ProVeg at [email protected] to learn more about your target audience and formulating plant-based products. 


  1. Smart Protein Project (2021): ‘What consumers want: A survey on European consumer attitudes towards plant-based foods. Country specific insights’ European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (No 862957). Available at: https://smartproteinproject.eu/consumer-attitudes-plant-based-food-report/. Accessed 2023-02-21.

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