Use ‘green’ argument to shift shoppers from meat to plant: Analyst

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A new survey has found that 42 percent of global shoppers are unlikely to choose plant-based (vegan) alternatives to conventional red meat. Food manufacturers should focus on replicating the experience of meat-eating with alternatives that align to the ‘green’ narrative analytics company GlobalData suggests.

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According to GlobalData’s 2021 Q1 consumer survey, 27 percent of consumers globally admit that their main reason for opting for plant-based alternatives instead of red meat is due to sustainability and green credentials.

To avoid alienating shoppers who are unwilling or unlikely to swap red meat for plant-based alternatives, Khalid Peerbaccus, Senior Innovation Researcher at GlobalData, said that pushing the importance of sustainability could see more people buy plant-based food.

“A significant number of people are simply not buying in, and it is likely because they are sticking with what they know. Some brands, such as Epicurious – which recently decided to omit beef from its recipes - could risk alienating followers while trying to tap into the plant-based trend,” Peerbaccus explained. “To win over those unsure consumers, these brands must focus on replicating the meat-eating experience without the need for animal products,” he added.

Animal welfare is also a reason why shoppers will avoid meat products with the survey finding that 33 percent of people consider this in their choice of purchases.

“While animal welfare is an issue that causes many shoppers to look for alternatives, sustainability is not too far behind. This is in no small part due to the increasing media coverage regarding climate change and the emphasis put on the consumer to help effect that positive change in the long run,” Peerbaccus said. “One of these is to adopt a more sustainable way of eating, which includes taking into consideration the journey the food has taken to get to the plate.”

He noted that manufacturers appear to be taking on board the consumer’s desire for more ethical consumption, and an influx of plant-based alternatives is being seen.

“Many are attempting to replicate the meat-eating experience through both taste and texture, which will be a key component going forward in weaning those unwilling consumers away from meat in favor of more sustainable alternatives,” he concluded.

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