The Benefits of Embracing Plant-Based Ingredients as a Bakery Chain

5 Jul 2024

With the sky-rocketing demand of consumers wishing to eat more sustainably and more healthily, many bakers, bakery chain managers and owners are exploring the possibilities of using plant-based ingredients. One of the biggest benefits of this shift has been the opportunity to sell to people who follow plant-based or flexitarian diets - a growing demographic

This, in itself, is a compelling reason for bakery chains to consider embracing plant-based ingredients. On top of this, however, a host of additional benefits make choosing plant-based alternatives an opportunity too good to ignore. From convenience to cost-efficiency, hygiene to versatility, this article will answer the big questions about the many benefits plant-based ingredients can offer your bakery chain.

The rising demand for plant-based products

Plant-based foods represent one of the fastest-growing segments in the food industry. Notably, 1  in 3  people now purchase vegan options every week, according to our Taste Tomorrow consumer research. In addition, 56% of consumers worldwide are interested in plant-based options of (sweet) bakery products. The call for plant-based bakery innovations is huge, especially in the Middle East and Africa (74%), South America (70%), and many countries in the Asian Pacific region (68%).

It’s safe to say that the wave of popularity for plant-based food has created a massive shift in the bakery industry around the world. Capitalizing on this by using plant-based ingredients is an easy win for bakery chains regardless of your size or the market in which you play.

Why do consumers choose plant-based options?

The growth in demand for plant-based products is predominantly driven by 2 factors: health and sustainability. According to our Taste Tomorrow research, 58% of consumers agree that eating plant-based food is healthier than eating animal-based food. This is due to consumers perceiving plant-based products to be more natural and have lower saturated fat content.

Of course, not all vegan recipes are created equally, however, on average when compared to their eggs and dairy counterparts, they:

  • Are less energy dense (less calories/100g);
  • Naturally contain fewer total fats and saturated fats;
  • Contain less cholesterol.

When it comes to sustainability, we found that 70% of consumers agree that plant-based foods have a positive impact on the environment. LCA studies also concluded that the environmental impact of our innovative egg-wash substitute Sunset Glaze was 59% lower than that of pasteurized eggs, and the butter alternative Mimetic had an environmental impact 3 times lower than that of dairy butter.

In addition to these primary factors, consumers with allergies to dairy and eggs will seek out plant-based products, as will those who choose not to consume animal products due to ethical concerns. Please note that plant-based doesn’t necessarily mean free from allergens—it’s crucial to always label allergens in accordance with local regulations.

It’s also crucial to check a product's composition and understand how it is produced before using it in a plant-based recipe. For example, not all sugar derived from sugar cane can actually be considered plant-based as it is often processed using bone char - which predominantly originates from cattle and pig bones. 

Understanding why consumers choose plant-based options is incredibly useful for a bakery chain. It can inform the types of recipes you offer and how you market your products to different consumers with different motives.

Additional benefits of using plant-based ingredients in bakery

As well as being able to sell to more consumers, using plant-based ingredients offers a number of additional benefits that can help to solve a variety of issues that many bakers face. 


Removing dairy and eggs from production significantly improves food safety and hygiene throughout the baking process. Without the handling of raw eggs and dairy products, you remove the chance of cross-contamination of allergens and reduce the risk of bacterial contamination


Using plant-based ingredients can have a massive impact on the cost-efficiency of your bakery production. Many non-dairy ingredients can be stored at ambient temperatures in more convenient packaging than their dairy counterparts, significantly reducing the cost of storing and refrigerating them

In addition, plant-based ingredients often have a longer shelf life, simplifying logistics and reducing wastage—and, therefore, the associated costs. 

Removing dairy from the production process also makes the cleaning of workspaces and equipment easier, again reducing costs. 

Another important factor in cost efficiency is the ability to mitigate fluctuating egg and butter costs. Plant-based ingredients often offer a more stable cost and reliable supply, enabling bakery chains to improve margins and increase ticket prices by creating upsell opportunities.

The beauty of including plant-based ingredients is that these cost-efficiencies can be made across your product portfolio, not just in plant-based products.


Storing plant-based ingredients is more convenient than storing their dairy counterparts. Without the need for refrigeration or freezing and longer shelf lives, going plant-based makes the logistics of the production process easier for bakery chains. For example, Sunset Glaze, our plant-based egg wash substitute, has a shelf life of 9 months and is stored at an ambient temperature.

In addition to convenient storage, plant-based ingredients are often easy to use, with little preparation needed. For example, Carat, our range of fat-based chocolate fillings, requires a simple stir before applying to any product you want to add a filling to.

These two benefits combined mean that plant-based ingredients allow for more consistent quality control. As these ingredients are typically easier to work with, less experienced staff members can easily follow specifications, meaning quality standards can be maintained across all bakeries in the chain.


Most plant-based substitutes are just as versatile as butter and eggs, fitting seamlessly into a variety of applications and processes. Mimetic, our plant-based butter alternative, is suitable for any application in direct, frozen and long shelf-life processes and can be used for lamination or incorporation into dough for products such as croissants, Danish and puff pastries, cakes, soft dough, and cookies. 

Does using plant-based ingredients have an impact on your carbon footprint?

This is yet another extremely positive benefit of choosing plant-based ingredients for your bakery chain. Plant-based products are often lower in environmental footprint, helping make products more sustainable. This means that your product’s environmental footprint will be reduced, and, in turn, your organization’s footprint will also be positively impacted.

How much of an environmental impact will it make?

Switching to plant-based ingredients can make a huge impact. For example, we assessed the environmental impact of our Mimetic plant-based butter alternative when compared to butter. The major finding: our Mimetic was 3 times better for the environment than using butter.

This was driven across three areas:

  • CO2 emissions - Mimetic produced around half as much CO2 as butter did.
  • Land use - Mimetic resulted in a third as much land use per kilogram vs butter.
  • Water usage - we found that it takes 8 times less water to produce 1 kg of Mimetic than it does to produce 1 kg of butter.

To take another example, our recipe for vegan croissants using Mimetic and Sunset Glaze plant-based ingredients is proven to have up to 50% less environmental impact compared to non-vegan croissants. Based on LCA-PEF analysis, every 100T of such croissants produced is equivalent to planting 5,000 trees. 

This alone is a compelling story that can be told either at the Point of Sale or on packaging, and be seen as a true differentiator in the bakery market.

Having sustainability claims such as these is invaluable when seeking to appeal to consumers, staff members, and suppliers all of whom are likely to be interested in reducing their impact on the environment. 

What changes if I go for plant-based ingredients?

Typically, plant-based ingredients and substitutes are easy to implement into recipes and processes without needing to significantly change production methods. For example, choosing our Mimetic over margarine or butter or Sunset Glaze over a traditional egg wash makes for an incredibly simple swap and requires minimal recipe and production process adjustments. 

Where optimizations are needed, we have teams of experts across product and process, research and development, and innovation who can help perfect your bakery chain’s production processes. You can contact us using our contact form

For more information on the ways we can help you improve your processes, take a look at this article: Level up your bakery, patisserie, or chocolate know-how

Want to know more about the impact of vegan baking ingredients on the environment? Discover more here!


Puratos, a global supplier known for its innovative solutions in the bakery, patisserie, and chocolate sectors offers, among its wide offer, a few full clean label solutions (no additive) such as single origins chocolate, real chocolate that does not contain lecithin and several bread improvers which allows the production of bread with consistent quality and exceptional taste and texture. In addition, an extended range of Puratos ingredients abides by consumers' clean(er) label expectations. These solutions empower bakers, patissiers, and chocolatiers to create clean(er) label products that align with consumer demand for natural, wholesome, and transparent food items.