Consumer survey reports trend to consume less meat is levelling off

Consumer survey reports trend to consume less meat is levelling off

In a recent survey of consumers in five countries by consultancy New Nutrition Business, the trend to consume less meat, which grew very strongly from 2014 onwards, is levelling off. In 2022, 24% of people said they were reducing their meat consumption, unchanged from 2020.

The five countries surveyed were surveyed, the UK, USA, Australia, Brazil and Spain.

Brazil and Spain had the most meat reducers (31% and 30% respectively). The US scored lowest on meat reduction (18% of consumers). It’s a behaviour which is more common among consumers aged 55 and above than among younger consumers. “It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s what we have been finding for several years, as have many of our customers,” said food industry specialist, Julian Mellentin. “The idea that it’s the young driving meat reducing largely comes from lazy journalism.”

As a sign of the growing diversity of consumers’ health beliefs, there were more emergent new health interests showing up – concerns that are still niche, but which have been growing steadily over the past five years. Two examples are:

  • Eating to improve hormonal health – followed by 8% of consumers in the US, Australia and Spain, slightly more in Brazil, and 4% in the UK. Mellentin said: “It’s an issue that matters more to women than men and affects wellbeing over the whole of their adult lives. It’s an issue that women often say the medical mainstream pays little attention to. An increasing number are managing their hormonal health through food and supplements.”
  • Also emergent is the avoidance of seed-oils – such as canola or sunflower – which is a concern for 6% of people, up from almost zero back in 2019. This growing interest relates to concerns about inflammation.

“These emergent behaviours are much more important for corporate strategy than veganism,” Mellentin adds. “A vegan diet is the choice followed by the lowest percentage of consumers in all countries – just 3%. Veganism has shown no increase since 2019. It’s notable that a topic which is often described by the media as growing is in reality a topic of least interest in the real world.”

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