Top 5 Trends From Plant Based World Expo 2022

Bell Flavors & Fragrances captures a snapshot of what was trending on the show floor at Javits Center in September 2022.


From September 8-9, the latest trends in plant-based foods were on full display at Plant Based World Expo (PBW) 2022 inside Javits Center in New York City.

In its third edition, the official tradeshow for the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) once again provided a unique platform for brands, manufacturers, distributors, as well as retail and foodservice professionals to experience what’s next in the world of alternative proteins.

The tremendous buzz surrounding plant-based foods was palpable inside Javits Center for two action-packed days. More than 245 exhibitors, including significantly more international brands, showcased their offerings in front of more than 3,700 attendees; up 20% from 2021.

Spotlight on Plant-Based Foods

Sweet, savory, functional, and gourmet: Walking the halls provided guests with a chance to taste and discover the latest iterations of plant-based foods and technologies.

Product presentations on the floor were supplemented by content-rich PBW platforms such as the Culinary Theater, Learning Garden, and Conference sessions. On that note, the number of sessions featuring experts and industry insiders more than doubled compared to last year!

Standouts included strategic assessments like “Understanding the Consumer Shift from Animal to Plant-Based” hosted by PBFA and Kroger, as well as the “The ‘Why’ Behind Today’s Food & Lifestyle Trends” by Eve Turow-Paul and “Learn How to Build Flavor Without Compromising Your Diet” by Chef Shenarri Freeman.

 Another PBW highlight returned this year: The winners of the official 2022 World Plant-Based Awards were announced during the show, chosen from over 140 entries in 17 categories from 20 countries.

Celebrating Vegan Deliciousness

Bell Flavor & Fragrances team at Plant Based World Expo 2022

Products from Bell clients featured center-stage in the sample dishes presented at the Bell Flavors & Fragrances booth (number 602). Under the theme Bell Taqueria, visitors had a chance to taste Vegan Al Pastor bites featuring alternative protein from MycoTechnology, Inc. seasoned with Bell’s pork and Mexican pepper flavors, accompanied by a delicious vegan chipotle and lime crema.

Continuing the deliciousness, Bell dished out Vegan Cookie Dough, based on chickpea protein and packed with vanilla and browned butter flavors. Rounding out the taqueria offering, Bell served non-dairy Horchata Iced Coffee using ethically sourced coffee from Westrock Coffee loaded with a vegan whipped topping by Ingredion enhanced by coconut milk flavor.

Overall, sampling was in full swing at the Bell Flavors & Fragrances booth during the entire show. Meanwhile, we also made time to walk the halls and explore the 5 Top Trends from Plant Based World Expo 2022 in New York City:

1.   Next Wave of Alternative Seafood

Vegan chicken bites and faux beef burger patties are already becoming ubiquitous on mainstream menus. Now alternative seafood proteins present the next wave in terms of product innovation. On that note: When it comes to making tuna, salmon, and shrimp alternatives taste like the ‘real thing’, Bell provides a number of vegan seafood flavors and technologies to make them pop.

At Plant Based World Expo (PBW) 2022, the innovation in #altseafood was undeniable: Ingredion sampled the latest iteration of their fish tacos, while several brands showcased versions of plant-based tuna salad. Virginia’s Plant Based Seafood Co. wowed visitors with their vegan Crab Cakes, while BeLeaf won the World Plant-Based Award for their plant-based shrimp.

The next level of innovation? Plant-based sushi and ‘raw’ fish! Finless Foods showcased a raw tuna alternative that can be used in poke bowls – without the negative effects of overfishing. The same goes for Current Foods and their delicious ‘raw tuna’. Great news, since worldwide tuna stocks have been depleted by 60 percent compared to 50 years ago.

2.   Humungous Fungus

Move over, soy and seitan! The market for mushroom-based protein is literally growing like mushrooms: From 2022 to 2029 the fungal protein market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7.6% to reach $397.5 million.

Fungi were also sprouting at Plant Based World Expo (PBW) 2022. Mushrooms scooped a win in the World Plant-Based Awards, with The Mushroom Meat Co. taking the trophy for their pulled ‘pork’. Colorado-based MycoTechnology, Inc. harnesses the growth engine of mushrooms, known as mycelium, in their FermentIQ™ Protein. It’s made by taking pea protein or a pea and rice protein blend, then fermenting it with shiitake mushroom mycelium to create meat analogues like the chorizo taco served at their booth.

Hailing from South Korea, the Better Meat company impressed with their Plant-Based Luncheon (aka. vegan Spam) that uses mycoprotein to taste like the real thing. Mushroom flavors also popped off in Popadelics crunchy mushroom chips and in numerous condiments featuring luxe truffle aromas.

3.   Rooted in Culture

Bell's Vegan Al Pastor Bites: savory vegan pork sausage combined with Guajillo Chili, Chipotle and pineapple, stu ed into a crispy corn cup, topped with a delicate vegan avocado cilantro crema.

Vegan food is even more attractive when it’s founded on genuine cultural roots. And consumers love it: Two out of three U.S. consumers “love” to discover new flavors and cuisines. Meanwhile, 39 percent of consumers in the U.S. are trying to incorporate more vegan foods into their diets.

Including those vegan flavors gets much easier thanks to products like UK-based Shicken, which brings Pan-Asian delights such as curries and chicken kebabs into the meatless consumer sphere. After only 18 months in business, Shicken is already sold at Costco in the UK and created much buzz about a U.S. launch with their culturally rooted flavors at PBW.

Speaking of culture, Italy-based Mia Green Food delivered vegan versions of parmesan cheese, prosciutto, and pepperoni with zero animal ingredients and cholesterol, but all the authentic Italian flavor notes. Food connoisseurs also raved about Verduns’ veggie pate, while Swiss start-up Share delivered fermented apricot based on an ancient recipe from the Tang Dynasty for flavor and gut health.

4.   Peak Vegan Cheese?

While past editions of the show saw an explosion of chicken protein, walking the halls this year was impossible without seeing countless iterations of plant-based cheese. That’s no surprise: The global market for plant-based cheese was valued at $2.43 billion in 2021 with an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.6% until 2030.

Scoring a win at PBW 2022, European innovators New Roots AG clinched the award for the ‘Circular Economy Approach’ behind their plant-based alternative to hard cheese. Hailing from Germany, Bedda showcased a variety of cheeses from brie to cheddar. Speaking of variety, Bell Flavors & Fragrances has developed a library of over 30 vegan cheese flavor profiles, replete with matching flavor enhancers and masking technologies to build deep aromas (see more info here).

Much to the delight of Italian food lovers (also see 3. Rooted in Culture), Miyoko’s Creamery returned to show ‘lifelike’ mozzarella both in solid form as well as a liquid for melting on pizza. In the show’s dedicated section for start-up companies, Plant Smart LLC delivered the world’s first fat free plant-based cheese, Cheezilla, alongside a melted cheese alternative named Melteeza. And for an adult take on a childhood staple, GrownAs* Foods served up Truffle Vegan Mac & Cheese.

5.   Sweet Delights

Bell's Vegan Chickpea Cookie Dough: Bell’s Vanilla, Brown Butter and Protein Masking Flavors turn this cookie dough into a healthy treat you feel good about eating, never knowing there are chickpeas in it!

Ending our trend report with a cherry on top, vegan desserts stole the show at PBW 2022. The manifold offerings of sweet delights in New York were indicative of a bigger trend: The global vegan dessert market is expected to reach $5.97 billion by 2027, while currently growing at double-digit rates.

In the plant-based desserts category, the World Plant-Based Award went to PLAYin CHOC for their ‘Organic Peruvian Cacao M•lk Chocolate’ with all that creaminess – but none of the dairy. Meanwhile, New York locals Rule Breaker Snacks bring nut-free and vegan brownies and blondies into school lunches, while Pri’s Puddings satisfy cravings on the go with pocket-sized pies. Not to forget Dandies vegan marshmallows by Chicago Vegan Foods, also known as makers of Temptation vegan frozen desserts.

Speaking of frozen, did we mention vegan ice cream? It’s now a full-fledged award category with SuperSeed Ice Creme by Eat Drink Innovate Pty taking the proverbial biscuit in the show awards this year. Lick ice cream made from Italian lupin beans also hit all the right flavors, while Bon Dévil’s Choc Ganache Desserts and Raw Cakes from Nats Rawline raised the bar for sinful delights with none of the (animal) cruelty.

Hungry for more plant-based food resources? Make sure to visit Bell’s Plant Based World Expo workspace featuring our current brochure on flavors and technologies for Alternative Proteins and more materials.

Also look forward the European edition of PBW happening in London, UK, from November 30 to December 1, 2022. See you there!

Click here if you like to request samples of delicious flavors for alternative proteins from Bell Flavors & Fragrances.

About Bell Flavors & Fragrances:
Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Inc. is a leading supplier of flavors, fragrances, botanical extracts and ingredient specialties to the food and beverage industry, as well as the household care and personal care industries, offering over 100 years of exceptional customer service and experience. Bell has nine manufacturing plants worldwide including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Germany, Singapore, and China. Bell operates sales offices in more than 40 countries. Bell’s global presence allows flexibility in the world marketplace while constantly responding to emerging industry trends with solutions that bring added value and business opportunities to our customers.

Bell Flavors & Fragrances – Get In Touch With Taste!