In the United States alone, there has been an incredible 600% increase in veganism since 2015, and a whopping 70% of the global population says they are reducing meat intake or skipping meat altogether. Driven by environmental concerns, animal welfare issues, and economic necessity, people are turning away from meat and toward plant-based proteins.

In fact, Wall Street analysts expect that plant-based meat grow to a $140B industry. Beyond Meat’s 2019 IPO sent share prices skyrocketing over 800%, and the company expects that, over the long term, plant-based meats will gain a similar market share enjoyed by plant-based milks and dairy products. Food giants Unilever, Nestle, and Kellog have all launched plant-based meat brands, but plant-based meat is only part of the story. Plant-based proteins are an even broader category, with vegan baked goods, sauces, dairy products, and more. Tech startups and food innovators are also exploring cultured meats as a cruelty-free dietary option.

Even better, plant-based meat products still enjoy a luxury price point over their animal-based alternatives, with vegan burgers currently being sold at twice the price of beef. However, these prices are expected to shift as competition increases and production methods gain efficiencies.

Effects of the Vegan Explosion on Staffing for New Product Development

As one would expect, this dramatic change in consumer habits and demand has food producers and new product developers rapidly reconfiguring their product offerings. There is currently a severe shortage of plant-based protein specialists, and huge demand for protein specialists, plant-based nutritionists, protein purification scientists, meat analogue developers, and more. Tiny startups and food giants alike are competing for qualified employees who can process plants to enhance their amino acid profiles and improve bioavailability, scientists who have experience in cultured meat and proteins, and technicians who are specialized in textures, aromas, and functional ingredients. 

How to Attract Plant-Based Protein Specialist Job Candidates

While protein scientists come from a wide range of backgrounds, many of them are motivated by a set of values, and company culture can make a huge difference in their employment decisions. In recent months, a variety of websites and databases have been created that help job seekers find vegan-friendly employers and sustainable companies, since candidates care so much about values. Some initiatives that can make a company more attractive to new candidates, and boost retention among current employees, include:

  • Creating workplace sustainability programs. Workplace recycling programs have been popular for decades, but employees are looking for more. Show a commitment to sustainability with corporate energy consumption, sourcing sustainable supplies and equipment, and supporting environmental causes.
  • Making earth-friendly products. For employees who are passionate about the welfare of the consumer, they already know that good health goes beyond protein. Many plant-based protein companies make products that have earth-friendly packaging, organic and sustainable ingredients, and a transparent supply chain. Employees are attracted to companies that show a comprehensive commitment to health and the environment.
  • Offering vegan foods. Many plant-based food startups don’t serve any animal products in their workplace cafeterias, so that vegetarian and vegan employees never have to worry about what’s in their food. It’s a trend that’s catching on with even Fortune 500 companies, and animal products are becoming less common in the commissary.
  • Creating a diverse workforce. Diverse workplaces are shown to improve employee morale and performance, and is increasingly a factor in candidate’s employment decisions.
  • Adding environmentally conscious employee benefits. Offering perks that encourage the use of public transit, including green portfolios in company retirement plans, and rewarding employees for sustainable lifestyle choices are just some of the ways that employers are appealing to more eco-conscious candidates.

These benefits and initiatives help to make your company more attractive to a new generation of plant-based protein scientists and alternative protein specialists, but they don’t always help you find the most qualified candidates. For that, you can rely on grapefrute. Our huge talent network and innovative searches help us find the right candidates for in-demand, hard-to-fill positions, so you can develop the plant-based food products consumers are hungry for. Contact us to find out more.