Many companies have entered the plant-based market and are significant players in the business. Beyond and Impossible immediately come to mind but big players like Conagra are not far behind. Literally tens of billions of dollars has been raised from venture capital to public offerings in pursuit of the burgeoning market.
Something else that is becoming important to restaurants is "clean label." Clean label simply means that the ingredients are natural, easy to recognize and there aren't many of them in the product. This has become a problem in the plant-based world because, typically, many things have to go into the raw product to enhance the taste profile.
Finally, there is the issue of sustainability. This can take on many forms. For example, what is the carbon footprint of the process? Is it energy-intensive? Does it have to travel far? What is the waste involved? What is the growing process?
All of those questions become important and not just to consumers. As companies have come to realize their responsibility in sustainability efforts, they have become more cognizant of the processes involved in making and distributing plant-based products and how this relates to sustainability.
Full disclosure, I am a shareholder and board member of a company called Divine Roots, based in Irvine, California. I joined it because I believe they have addressed the issues and possibilities that I have outlined above. Moreover, they have left a large part of the taste profile to the people who really count - the chefs and restaurateurs who know their customer best.
As I said, I have learned a lot about the future of plant-based products and the cultural movement towards flexitarianism is exciting.