Trends Driving Plant-Based Food Innovation

February 15, 2022

As consumers look to expand their palates with plant-based proteins, innovation and variety are the name of the game in 2022. Ingredients such as textured pea proteins, mung beans and seaweed are being utilized alongside soy to improve the taste and texture of meat analogues. Thai mushroom and jackfruit “pork” and burgers made from sunflower, fava bean and beetroot in UAE showcase this new wave of ingredient creativity.
Did you know veggie burgers are more prevalent on menus than bacon cheeseburgers?1 As they’ve become ubiquitous, it’s time to bring on the new. Now operators are taking plant-centric entrees to the next level, including natural meat replacements that deliver quality nutrition and satisfying flavor. Subbing in eggplant “bacon” on a BLT, sizzling sweet potato “steak” fries within a fajita, or crispy fried king trumpet mushrooms in exchange for a chicken patty are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creative plant-based dishes on menus. While these options are based in wholesome ingredients and filled with beneficial nutrients, consumers may be looking for more protein. 
Along with this hope for plant-powered protein, health goals, environmental concerns and supply chain issues have teed up 2022 to be a year of expansive meat, dairy, and egg substitute growth. Ingredients such as textured pea proteins, mung beans and seaweed are being utilized alongside soy to improve the taste and texture of meat analogues. These ingredients also check the box for the 62% of US plant protein consumers that would like to see plant proteins with whole food ingredients.2 Whitefish made from pulses is being served in select markets at Long John Silvers, while fast casual West Coast chain, Souvla, showcases vegan lamb made from pea-protein in their souvlaki sandwiches.3 Dairy and eggs are also important components of the plant-protein plate. Bean-topped nachos are smothered with vegan cashew cheese, plant-based egg patties are found on breakfast sandwiches and just about any coffee shop will have a plant-based milk to complete a cup of joe.



To meet consumer expectations and combat harmful practices to the environment, manufactured products will continue to broaden well beyond the burger patty to include varieties of seafood, pork, lamb and more.

To address consumer demand for clean label claims in plant-based offerings, operators will find ways to innovate with more wholesome ingredients.


Communicating the environmental and ethical implications of ingredients within menu mentions will be just as important as nutrition and taste.



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Plant-based meat and seafood substitutes have become staples across global menus, from independent restaurants to large chains. Operators are experimenting with more advanced alternatives to steak, cured meats and sushi-grade tuna.

College and University is no stranger to meat alternatives as these operations have catered to diverse diners—Millennials and Gen Z—for decades. Healthcare has also made inroads into plant-based eating in recent years. As a way to mitigate health issues through diet, the American Medical Association is encouraging plant-based options be available at hospitals and practitioners are making efforts to educate patients and promote plant-based eating. The recreation sector is catching up, too. Disney Parks recently implemented a plant-based initiative to ensure there is a vegan option on every menu within their parks.  

Processors are capitalizing on the many opportunities in producing plant-based products. Key areas being highlighted through innovation and package labels include sustainable sourcing, nutrient-density, value, convenience, and improved taste and texture of meat analogs. Broader competition of plant-based goods will hopefully lower prices and eliminate the cost barrier for some consumers to these premium-priced items.


Crispy Plant-Based Crab Cake Burger with Spicy Slaw

Chef Jomi is cooking up a delicious Plant-Based Crab Burger with the help of a few excellent products from our Custom Culinary™ Master’s Touch™ line. This perfectly crispy burger is flavored with a New Orleans-style marinade, and served on a toasted brioche bun. Check out the short recipe intro to see Chef Jomi in action and gain valuable insights about how simple plant-based solutions can bolster your menu.


With the global population projected to reach 10 billion by 2050, alternative protein represents a more sustainable, environmentally friendly way of feeding the world. Plant-derived ingredients, meat analogues, fermented foods and insect protein are just some of the possibilities. Discover how Griffith Foods* is exploring these emerging ingredients, innovative processes and changing consumer preferences in our latest white paper, “Now, Next, Future.”



“When preparing plant-based meal ideas, pair ingredients with familiar flavors. Use vegan stocks made from vegetable trimmings, dried mushrooms and wakame seaweed to add a punch of umami to dried legumes, sauces and soups. Dishes such as smoked mushroom Bolognese, hearts of palm ceviche and seitan-based Peking ‘duck’ are familiar in flavor but reach new heights of creativity in their plant-based executions.”

–Chef Mark Serice, Vice President Global Culinary, Griffith Foods* 


culinary inspiration

Get inspired by these on-trend concepts to create innovative offerings using Griffith Foods products. 

Braised Gluten and Artichoke “Osso Bucco”

This plant-based take on a classic—made with artichoke and vital wheat gluten dough—is braised in a ragout of mushrooms, smoked tomatoes and cannellini beans, then served over a bed of saffron-scented bamboo green tea rice.

Featuring: Griffith Foods Smoked Tomato and Mushroom Sauce Seasoning: Griffith Foods Risotto Milanese Rice Seasoning


West African Pan-Roasted Broad Beans

Broad beans with a touch of olive oil are slowly roasted over an open flame, creating a perfectly crisp exterior and mellow, smooth center. They’re dusted with a West African spice blend of onion, tomato, red pepper, rosemary and nutmeg to create a traditional flavor profile in a high-protein snack. 

Featuring: Griffith Foods Jollof Snack Seasoning




Plant-based foods are seeing increased demand from those who do not want to commit to a full vegan or even vegetarian lifestyle, but would rather pick and choose to suit their lifestyle, social life, or health conditions. Join Chef Michael Speranza, Custom Culinary USA, as he takes a deeper look into this mega trend.

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© 2022 Griffith Foods. All rights reserved.
*Custom Culinary® is part of the Griffith Foods family of companies.

1 Datassential, The World of Burgers Report, September 2021
2,3 Source: Mintel Consulting, 2022 FlavorIQ® Global Trends and Insights Report for Griffith Foods, December 2021