What are the main drivers behind the increasing consumer interest in a plant-based diet?
For consumers, health is the single most important attribute of a plant-based diet, while it also benefits from a strong natural and sustainable image. Attributes such as sustainability, animal welfare and technology advancement are more likely to impress Generation Z (30%, 22% and 20% respectively). All these benefits are strongly resonating with vegans and vegetarians compared to consumers who do not follow specific diet principles. When it comes to consuming meat and dairy alternatives, the key drivers are sustainability and the environment.
What are the demographics of this trend?
The plant-based movement is driven by western society, since their cuisine is meat and dairy centered and therefore the innovation on meat and dairy alternatives comes from the need to reduce the production and consumption of animal-based products.
Does age of the consumer play a role?
Younger consumers purchase and consume more dairy alternatives and more meat alternatives than the elderly. For example, one-tenth of 18- to 34-year-old consumers say they have never had plant-based alternatives, while amongst 55+ consumers it’s up to one-quarter.
What role is increasing awareness of sustainability and environmental issues playing in plant-based eating?
Two-fifths of consumers globally believe plant-based meat and dairy alternatives are more sustainable than their conventional counterparts. Half of consumers globally say that plant-based alternatives are better for the environment. Less pesticide usage is the top environmental reason for choosing plant-based. In Indonesia, half of the consumers believe that plant-based eating could contribute to less product waste. Other environmental factors are greenhouse gas emissions or water use.
Has the COVID pandemic influenced how people see the link between diet and holistic health?
Yes, having a good health status and being aware of your physical and mental well-being became very important during the pandemic. 46% of consumers also reported a negative impact on their mental health. For some, the pandemic was an opportunity to rethink the important things to achieve a holistic well-being. 1 in 4 consumers say they have chosen food and beverages to help their mood in the past 12 months. Other diet changes include food and beverages for a healthy gut and to boost their immune system.
With inflation rising in many countries, and people having less disposable income, is plant-based likely to suffer, or continue to grow?
Price is certainly a significant stumbling block, with almost as many consumers saying that plant-based eating is expensive as believe it to be cheap. Even though plant-based alternatives started with a higher price, there is a chance to see a reduction due to the increased demand or at least not a high increase in price compared to animal products.