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Recent data shows that a whopping 92% of people in the U.S. who bought plant-based meat for the first time during the Covid-19 pandemic plan on continuing to do so in the future, with the main drivers being health, food safety and convenience. Similar levels of enthusiasm for vegan meat alternatives were recorded in other regions, including in several European markets, in line with previous research conducted over the past few months.
A new study published by American multinational food processing corporation ADM’s research arm ADM OutsideVoice has identified a major shift towards plant-based meats as one of the main trends to emerge in the F&B industry in face of the coronavirus pandemic. It finds 18% of plant-based protein buyers in the U.S. purchased their first plant-based meat product during Covid-19 and within this category, 92% say they will continue to do so in the months ahead.
ADM’s survey also found similar results in Germany, the U.K. and the Netherlands, where 80% of consumers reported that they will keep purchasing and eating plant-based meat alternatives in the future, even after the pandemic. According to analysts, the trend is driven by concerns about health, convenience and food safety, especially since viral outbreaks in slaughterhouses have been recorded around the world, inundating the global meat supply chain.
These behavioural shifts are likely to persist well after the pandemic crisis peaks.ADM
“Consumers’ attitudes, priorities and behaviours are shifting significantly. This evolution is providing a unique opportunity for forward-looking food and beverage companies to bring a suite of trailblazing new products to market,” said Ana Ferrel, vice president of marketing at ADM.
Other shifts that the research found included increased consumer attention on enhancing immunity and overall well-being, maintaining an active lifestyle amid lockdowns, finding greater balance to nurture one’s self-care and mental health, and greater focus on personalised nutrition that suits individual needs.
Consumers’ attitudes, priorities and behaviours are shifting significantly. This evolution is providing a unique opportunity for forward-looking food and beverage companies to bring a suite of trailblazing new products to market.Ana Ferrel, Vice President of Marketing at ADM
ADM analysts additionally spotlighted a crucial transformation in shopping values, with 48% of consumers saying they are now planning to spend more specifically on wellness and health products, as well as basic pantry staples.
“These behavioural shifts are likely to persist well after the pandemic crisis peaks,” predicts ADM.
Previous studies that have been published over the last few months have reported similar findings, including research published in the journal Foods, which found for the first time that people identifying as “meat-eaters” are now a minority in Germany. Almost a third of German respondents (31%) also stated that they are now actively following flexitarian or meat-reducing diets, a statistic that was also reported by research consultancy GfK.
Meanwhile, a poll based in the U.S. found that nearly 60% of the public are now transitioning to a flexitarian or plant-based diet. It further said that since the pandemic began, over half of Americans have reduced their consumption of animal products, with the top cited reason being sustainability. Surveys conducted in the U.K. and Hong Kong also concluded a significant surge in interest and willingness to shift away from meat-based diets as a direct result of the coronavirus crisis.
Lead image courtesy of Alpha Foods.