What’s causing the transformation in our dining tables, where plant-based options are no longer just an afterthought but are taking center stage?

Forget the boring side salad relegated to the corner of your plate. Plant-based options are having a moment, and they are no longer considered just as the side dish. From supermarket shelves overflowing with meat alternatives to restaurants boasting vegetarian and vegan menus, consumers are increasingly embracing a more plant-centric lifestyle. But what’s driving this shift in dietary choices?

Let’s look into the key trends propelling the rise of plant-based diets.

Health Consciousness: A Focus on Prevention

We all want to be healthy, right? One of the primary drivers behind the rise of plant-based diets is a growing awareness of prevention in health. With increasing rates of obesity, heart disease, and other lifestyle-related ailments, people are seeking healthier alternatives to their traditional diets. Plant-based diets, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes, offer a plethora of vitamins essential for optimal health. Numerous studies have shown that plant-based diets rich in fiber and antioxidants, can lower the risk of heart diseases, chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and certain cancers.

Environmental Concerns: Eating with the Planet in Mind

Another compelling reason driving consumers towards plant-based diets is environmental sustainability. The production of animal products, particularly meat and dairy, is resource-intensive and contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and water pollution. Plant-based crops have the ability to thrive in diverse climates and soil conditions, needing minimal water and fertilizer compared to alternative crops, which renders them an eco-friendly choice for agricultural practitioners. As awareness of climate change and environmental degradation grows, many individuals are choosing plant-based diets as a way to reduce their carbon footprint and mitigate the impact of their dietary choices on the planet.

A Compassionate Approach to Food: Animal Welfare

Ethical considerations also play a pivotal role in the adoption of plant-based diets. Concerns about animal welfare and the ethics of factory farming have prompted many people to reevaluate their dietary habits. Some research also indicated that in a global survey carried out by Veggly, a prominent plant-based dating app, the primary drivers for individuals transitioning to a vegan lifestyle were investigated. Over 8,500 vegans from 104 countries participated in the research via the Veggly mobile app platform. The findings revealed that approximately 89% of respondents identified animal welfare as their primary motivation for eliminating all animal products from their diets.

By transitioning to plant-based diets, individuals can align their dietary choices with their values and promote compassion towards animals. The rise of documentaries and advocacy campaigns highlighting the plight of animals in the food industry has further fueled awareness and activism around animal welfare issues.

The Economic Case for Embracing Plant-Based Diets

Economic considerations also contribute to the growing popularity of plant-based diets. With the rising cost of meat and dairy products, particularly in urban areas, many individuals are turning to plant-based alternatives as a more affordable option. Plant-based foods, such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, and grains, tend to be more budget-friendly and offer excellent nutritional value for the price. Moreover, as economies of scale and technological advancements drive down the cost of plant-based products, they are becoming increasingly accessible to consumers across different income brackets, further democratizing plant-based eating.

Faba bean Dip

In contrast to the significant diversion of crops as feed in animal agriculture, plant proteins present a more direct and resource-efficient means of fulfilling dietary requirements. This intrinsic efficiency resonates with larger societal movements toward sustainability, rendering plant-based diets increasingly appealing to environmentally aware consumers.
A primary benefit of plant proteins in combating food waste stems from their versatility and prolonged shelf life. Unlike certain animal products necessitating precise storage parameters, numerous plant proteins exhibit resilience, enduring fluctuations in temperature and humidity. This durability results in reduced food spoilage and waste throughout the supply chain.

Plant-Based Goes Mainstream

Advancements in culinary technology and the availability of plant-based alternatives have made it easier than ever for individuals to adopt a plant-based diet. Gone are the days when vegan options were limited to bland salads and tofu. Today, there is a plethora of plant-based alternatives to meat, dairy, and eggs that closely mimic the taste, texture, and nutritional profile of their animal-derived counterparts. From plant-based burgers and sausages to dairy-free cheese and ice cream, the options are virtually endless. The rise of plant-based restaurants, food delivery services, and meal kits has also made plant-based eating more accessible and convenient for consumers, catering to a diverse range of tastes and preferences.

Celebrity Influence & Social Media Buzz

The influence of celebrities and public figures has played a significant role in popularizing plant-based diets. From Hollywood actors to professional athletes, many high-profile individuals have publicly espoused the benefits of plant-based eating. Their endorsements not only raise awareness but also lend credibility to the plant-based movement, debunking the myth that plant-based diets are restrictive or lacking in nutrients. Social media platforms have further amplified the visibility of plant-based lifestyles, with influencers and wellness gurus sharing their favorite plant-based recipes, meal ideas, and lifestyle tips with millions of followers worldwide.

Beyond the Plate: A Plant-Based Lifestyle

It’s also very interesting to mention that not only are the eating habits are changing. The plant-based movement extends beyond dietary choices. It often reflects a holistic approach to living that emphasizes sustainability, ethical consumerism, and environmental consciousness. Consumers are making plant-based choices in other aspects of their lives, opting for eco-friendly clothing, natural cleaning products, and cruelty-free cosmetics.


In conclusion, the surge of plant-based diets can be attributed to a combination of factors, including health consciousness, environmental concerns, animal welfare, culinary innovation, celebrity endorsement, and economic considerations. As individuals become more mindful of the impact of their dietary choices on their health, the planet, and animals, the appeal of plant-based eating continues to grow. Whether motivated by health, ethics, or environmentalism, embracing a plant-based diet offers a myriad of benefits for both individuals and the planet.

VALPRO Path project, Co-funded by the European Commission, has its mission to turn food-chain actors towards more sustainable plant protein production. The goal is to lead the way in exploring new opportunities, validating, and demonstrating methods to improve plant protein production for both food and feed within the EU. Central to the VALPRO Path initiative are five Innovation Production Systems (IPSs) spread across the EU, serving as dynamic test environments to develop innovative production and processing systems that maximize the value extracted from protein crops like pea, lupin, chickpea, faba bean, and lentils.

Do you want to know more about legume pasta or plant-based burgers Valpro Paths is spreading? Take a loot at our newsroom: https://valpropath.eu/news/

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