The majority of Dutch citizens are demanding more government action to reduce meat consumption and promote alternative proteins, a new survey has found. The research, which collected the views of Dutch respondents on a number of policies that would reduce the production and intake of meat and dairy products, indicated vast support for all the interventions listed, from introducing a meat tax to banning factory farming.
Dutch people are in favour of more government policies to promote plant-based alternative proteins and reducing animal meat intake, a new poll commissioned by ProVeg Netherlands and conducted by Amsterdam-based electoral research firm Kieskompas. The research, which involved more than 8,500 participants, showed that the average Dutch voter backs at least a reduction of animal protein consumption by at least a third over the next five years.
Overall, 63% of the Dutch respondents also supported the proposed ProVeg target of halving global animal protein intake by 2040. Many cited that slashing meat intake would bring health benefits, in particular to reduce the risk of rising zoonotic pandemics, a call that international experts and scientists have been making in recent months.
A significant reduction in meat and dairy consumption would also help the Netherlands and wider Europe achieve its climate goals, with the livestock sector in the E.U. contributing more emissions than all cars and vans in the continent combined, according to a Greenpeace report.
More than 7 in 10 of Dutch voters (72%) said that they believe in swapping out meat and dairy products for vegan alternatives, a dietary shift that has been made much easier in recent years as plant-based products on shelves become increasingly available and accessible.
A recent ProVeg and Smart Protein Project joint study found that driven by mainstream demand, the European plant-based market has grown 49% over the past two years. The Netherlands represented one of the fastest-growing markets, with vegan meat products in supermarkets rising by 51% while plant-based cheese sales exploded, recording 140% growth.
Another report on food tech funding highlighted the Netherlands as one of the key European “hubs” driving alternative protein innovation within the Benelux region, alongside neighbouring Belgium and Luxembourg.
Although 85% of Dutch respondents in the latest Kieskompas poll said that dietary preferences should remain a personal choice, as many as 70% said that the government should actively encourage choosing more plant-based options.
Commenting on the findings, ProVeg president and CEO Sebastian Joy told Livekindly: “This research shows convincingly that not only are Dutch people open to reducing their meat consumption individually, but they want their government to lead on it.”
“Over the past five years, the Netherlands [has] seen an unparalleled increase in consumer interest in plant based alternatives for meat and dairy,” Joy added.
ProVeg Netherlands also questioned Dutch voters on ten different policies that the government could introduce to slash meat intake, all of which gained a majority support of 50% or more. Notably, respondents agreed with these policies even if their preferred political parties do not endorse similar views. The Christian Democratic Party electorate, for instance, agreed with 80% of the policies suggested by ProVeg, despite the fact that the party has not given support to any.
Among some of the interventions listed include reducing the number of farmed livestock nationally, which garnered the support of 54% of Dutch voters. 60% of the participants also backed a ban on factory farms, while 52% said they would be in favour of introducing a higher meat tax.
One of the most popular policies was increasing the availability of plant-based options in stores, through both dedicated and integrated aisles, with 80% of the Dutch public saying they would support such a measure.
These findings align with previous ProVeg International research undertaken in Western Europe, which showed the majority of the public – 70% – backed the proposal of an “intelligent meat tax”. Respondents in this poll were asked to share their opinion on a policy that would increase meat prices while reducing costs of fresh produce as part of the E.U. “Farm to Fork” strategy to make the bloc’s food system more sustainable.
Lead image courtesy of Vivera.