• 86% of Brits have never heard of methylcellulose, an ingredient used in a fifth of plant-based products[1] 
  • 40% of Brits believe plant-based foods only contain natural ingredients while some products contain up to four additives[2]

Four in 10 shoppers think plant-based foods ONLY contain natural ingredients – despite some products containing as many as four ‘man-made’ substances[3].

A poll, conducted by plant-based brand Gosh!, which only uses natural ingredients in its products, unpicks the common misconceptions surrounding a plant-based diet, revealing that more than a third of people think plant-based products are artisan as opposed to highly processed and 38 per cent believe they’re only made from recognisable ingredients you could find in your kitchen cupboards.

William Topp, Marketing Manager at Gosh! said: “More than 19 million Brits have adopted a flexitarian diet, and more than a quarter of new UK food products launched in 2019 were labelled as vegan.

“So, it’s increasingly important that consumers have a broader understanding of the ingredients found in most vegan and vegetarian options.”

Results confirmed the confusion on what’s included in popular plant-based items, with 86 per cent of those polled admitting to having never heard of emulsifier and thickening agent, methylcellulose.

Similarly, more than half of people polled (57 per cent) have never heard of another emulsifier and thickener, xanthan gum. In addition, items such as maltodextrin (74 per cent) and calcium alginate (79 per cent), that commonly appear in plant-based products as bulking agents and stabilisers, are also unrecognisable to most.

The study also found 68 per cent have tried plant-based food items such as tofu, plant-based sausages and burgers and 25 per cent of those polled were, or would be, inspired to try these products due to the perception of a ‘more natural’ choice.

But, a third never check the ingredients of these products before buying them and 43 per cent don’t read the number of calories or the nutritional information ahead of making a purchase.

The study also found 27 per cent think plant-based foods are lower in salt than other foods and 50 per cent think they are lower in saturated fat – when this isn’t always the case.

Three in 10 believe they don’t include any additives at all and 38 per cent think these dietary options always have higher levels of nutrients than most other foods – which can be far from the reality.

But, this isn’t where their misconceptions end, as the Gosh! study carried out through OnePoll also found more than a fifth believe plant-based foods are always green in colour and 63 per cent think there is little choice when it comes to products of this kind – despite the vast array of new products available on the market.

[1] Research conducted into 110 plant-based products that found 22% of these products included methylcellulose

[2] Research conducted into 110 plant-based products

[3] Research conducted into 110 plant-based products that found a maximum of four additives in one product

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