13th June 2022
The Growing Plant-Based Market – Meat Alternatives
With the rise in popularity of the flexitarian diet, more consumers are looking to reduce or remove animal products from their diets. This is a trend that is expected to continue in the next couple of years. Due to the pandemic, consumers have also become more aware of their health and the impact it has on their overall wellbeing. These attitudes have led to many consumers making changes to their lifestyles to address concerns for the environment and animal welfare. So, what does this mean for plant-based meat in 2022?
One of the reasons many consumers are looking to reduce their meat intake is due to the potential health benefits associated with this. FMCG Gurus consumer insights found that 62% of global consumers who eat meat regularly are either attempting or considering reducing their intake over the next twelve months. COVID-19 greatly impacted the way many people view their health. Many consumers are now taking a proactive approach in order to protect them against any health threats they may face in the future.
A preventative approach to well-being has prompted consumers to address their meat intake. When addressing aspects of their diet, plant-based alternatives are often associated with being a healthier option. FMCG Gurus consumer insights found that globally 70% of consumers associate the V label symbol found on food and drink with being healthier.
Consumers are paying more attention to the ingredients used in the products they purchase. Many are looking at their health with a back-to-basics approach and therefore want products that are deemed natural and are made with ingredients they know and trust. Globally, 79% of consumers state that it is important that plant-based food and drink products are made with familiar and well-known ingredients. Additionally, with an increased concentration on health, many consumers are looking to reduce their sugar intake and maximize their protein intake. It is important for brands to have clear labeling of the nutritional values and ingredients of their products.
The other main reason for many consumers turning to plant-based products is due to concern for the environment. FMCG Gurus consumer insights found that 83% of consumers that eat meat substitutes/replacements do so due to them being better for the environment.
With an increase in concern for the environment, consumers are often skeptical about the sustainability claims that brands make. Brands should ensure the sustainability claims made on their products are truthful with readily available evidence to back up the claims.
Clear, streamlined labeling can help appeal to the environmentally friendly consumer. Many consumers view fewer ingredients listed in a product to be not only healthier but also more sustainable.
Barriers to Overcome
Even with the increase in consumers turning to plant-based meat products, there are still areas for improvement in the plant-based market.
FMCG Gurus consumer insights found that 67% of global consumers who do not eat meat substitutes state the products lack taste. Although environmental and health concerns are significant when consumers choose products, the taste is still the most important factor for many. Consumers should not feel like they have to make a compromise or sacrifice when turning to meat substitutes in the long term. Globally, 82% of consumers state that it is important that plant-based products taste the same as real meat, 75% say it’s important that the texture is the same, and 75% say that plant-based products should appear the same as real meat. More can be done to increase the satisfaction with the texture and appearance of meat substitutes so consumers don’t feel like they are making a sacrifice.
Another concern consumers have when looking for plant-based products is the price. FMCG Gurus consumer insights found that 42% of global consumers see products with the V label as being more expensive. Especially with decreased financial confidence, consumers may feel that a plant-based diet is not affordable. A solution for this could be for brands to create an extended, tiered portfolio range with economy options for those that cannot afford the premium price often associated with plant-based meat products. This can also address the desire for a wider variety of meat alternatives that are accessible and affordable.