As the pandemic took hold globally, consumer awareness of health, wellbeing and nutrition propelled the plant-based food industry even higher in market share. The growth rate in the US more than doubled in 2020 as sales surged 27% to $7bn, according to the Plant Based Foods Association and the Good Food Institute.
In this podcast episode, WGSN’s President & CEO Carla Buzasi and WGSN’s Head of Food & Drink Kara Nielsen sat down with Lita Dwight, former-lawyer-turned-founder of Brooklyn-based Bryt Life Foods. Tune in to hear them discuss what it’s like to launch a pioneering startup and the future of this craving for all things plant-based.
Consumer preference for convenience
“I’ve always had interest in nutrition and healing with whole foods. I started taking a lot of nutrition courses while I was still practising law and started a corporate wellness company to offer seminars. After I left corporate law, I gave these corporate wellness seminars at different law firms. And while I saw that light bulbs would go off in some of the participants’ heads, they would [only] adopt the plant-based lifestyle for maybe a week or two. If it wasn’t convenient for them, it didn’t seem like something that they would adopt long term. So I felt like the quickest way to get people to eat healthier would be to just create the food.”
Balancing taste and nutrition
“We’ve been incorporating blue-green spirulina, yellow chlorella and mushroom extracts to level up the nutritional value of some of our products. My passion has always been nutrition and healing. I felt rather than creating the nutraceutical, it would be a way to introduce healthy ingredients that are appealing to eat and and still maintain the elevated taste of the product.”
A healthy approach to sustainability
“We have been working with Leonard Blair of Algae Sciences on something called a biome burger, which is mainly an oat base to create texture and then we’re also working with mushroom extracts and Len created an algal heme that rivals the Impossible Burger, which is that umami, sort of meat flavour but with algae instead of soy. People want to make better choices in terms of what they’re putting into the pie and what impact that choice has on the planet. So I think the trends are always going to be towards creating foods that taste better, but sustainability is going to be at the forefront of a lot of the movement.”
– Lita Dwight, founder of Bryt Life Foods