Over a quarter of Brits have reduced or limited their meat consumption in the last six months, and an additional one in seven (14%) adults say they are interested in limiting or reducing their consumption of meat in the future, according to new research released by Mintel.
What’s fuelling the change?
Health is the number one motivation for those limiting or reducing meat consumption. Today, as many as half (49%) of Brits who are interested in or who are already limiting or reducing meat consumption agree that eating too much meat is bad for their health.
Meanwhile, weight management (29%) is the second most popular reason for limiting or reducing meat consumption, while concern over animal welfare (24%) and the environment (24%) are equal motivators.
‘Flexitarianism’ is on the rise
Mintel’s Senior Food Analyst at Mintel says:
“Despite the ingrained popularity of meat and poultry, a clear trend has emerged of people cutting back and limiting how much of these products they eat. That ‘flexitarianism’, a whole new dietary phrase, was coined to describe this movement also highlights its indisputably mainstream status. The flexitarian trend carves a very accessible and unrestricted middle ground between simply meat-eaters and non-meat eaters, while acknowledging a conscious effort to eat less meat.
“On top of the various other benefits linked to reducing meat consumption, following a meat-free diet is likely to be aspirational to many consumers and social media is playing an important role in the attraction of this endeavour.”
Young people are driving the trend
Clifford claims that young people are the driving-force behind the meat-free trend, with the environmental benefits of adopting a meat-free diet fuelling their decision to ditch the meat.
“The younger generations are the most likely to be following a meat-free lifestyle,” she says. “One in five (19 per cent) Brits under the age of 25 say they do not eat red meat or poultry, rising to one in four (25 per cent) women in this age group.
“And while animal welfare (54 per cent) is the number one reason why non-meat eaters say they avoid meat, for those under 25, environmental benefits is the leading factor.
“Indeed, this group is the only group which is more likely to avoid meat for environmental reasons (29 per cent) as opposed to concerns over animal welfare (22 per cent).
“A number of factors have been at play helping to reverse the fortunes of the meat-free category. Lifestyle trends are helping to broaden the appeal of these products, most notably many consumers are becoming more vigilant about the amount of meat in their diet.
“Increased innovation, with a big new product development push from brands in 2016, and growing mainstream availability of these products, has also underpinned this positive performance.”
Source: Ingredients Network.