More than twice the number of young consumers consider themselves to be vegetarian than the average among the wider population, new research from market insights provider Mintel has suggested.
The survey found that as many as 15% of those aged between 16 and 24 maintained a vegetarian diet, with just 7% claiming to do so across all age demographics, suggesting that the meat alternatives category had a potentially bright future. Although the research was only conducted on German consumers, there could be broader ramifications across markets worldwide.
The study additionally found that 18% of Germans aged between 16 and 24 had purchased meat alternative products at some point, compared with an average of 11% and a low of 5% among the over 55 age group. More generally, the figures suggest a decreasing prevalence of vegetarian diets among older age groups.
Mintel senior food and drink analyst Katya Witham said: “Domestic meat consumption has been slipping in recent years, reflecting a trend toward meat-reduced diets and vegetarianism in Germany. With the growing ranks of consumers embracing vegetarianism and veganism or a flexitarian eating pattern, the meat alternatives category is emerging from the shadows in Germany, fuelled by demand for a healthier and more varied diet.
“Young German consumers are leading this trend; they are most likely to be abstaining from meat consumption more frequently and will likely continue to follow this nutrition pattern in the future. A growing trend towards reducing meat consumption on ethical and environmental grounds among young people promises a bright future for the meat substitutes category in Germany.”
Despite the findings, the usage of meat substitutes in consumers’ daily diets remains low in Germany, Mintel said. Among consumers who tried meat alternatives, almost half are occasional users with a frequency of once a month or less. Older consumers that have cut their meat intake are doing so principally for health reasons, while, in contrast, ethical considerations are driving purchase within the 16–24 demographic.
“As well as being more willing to try new foods, younger consumers tend to integrate meat alternatives into their meals more frequently because they have grown up seeing a wider selection of meat substitutes at retail outlets, as opposed to older consumers who may be less familiar with the products,” Witham added.
She found that there was “much scope for future NPD based on meat substitutes’ ability to meet numerous consumer needs, from health through variety to ethical considerations.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2022
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