Consumers call on businesses to reduce meat consumption

Consumers have said that retailers and food providers have a “significant role to play” in helping society to reduce its meat consumption, new research has found.

According to new YouGov data commissioned by animal welfare organisation Compassion in World Farming, 14,147 adults across 12 markets expressed their views on the consumption of animal sourced foods.

Of the UK respondents, nearly a third (31%) agreed that retailers and food providers need to help society to reduce its meat consumption through innovation, such as making plant-based alternatives more widely available.

22% of respondents also said that they needed to help by reducing the meat on offer through portion control or the quantity of meat put into products.

The survey commissioned by Compassion in World Farming also found that there was an overall net decrease in meat consumption, with 34% saying they had either decreased significantly, or slightly decreased their consumption of meat over the past 12 months.

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Of those people in the survey who agreed that a reduction in meat consumption was necessary, 55% said it should be reduced for environmental considerations, 54% said it was for human health, but 59% said it was necessary for animal welfare reasons.

When the YouGov survey asked how people can reduce their meat consumption, 37% of UK respondents said it could be achieved by eating more vegetables, pulses and lentils, followed by 36% who preferred to eat meat less frequently, and 32% who proposed introducing meat free days into their week. 74% of respondents listed price/affordability as an important factor when considering their diet.

Plant-based alternatives, whose texture and taste mimic meat, are seen as a vital step in encouraging dedicated meat eaters to reduce their meat consumption. Many brands are already making use of it, such as Beyond Meat, This, and Burger King’s Impossible Burger.

“It’s clear to see from this research that more and more people are taking a flexitarian approach to their eating habits due to concerns about animal welfare, human health, and the environment, and, to a large extent, consumers expect food companies to make it easier for them to succeed in their meat reduction journey,” global director of food business at Compassion in World Farming, Dr Tracey Jones said.

She added: “Food businesses have a real opportunity to capitalise on this by offering tasty and enticing veggie alternatives and by using less but better quality, higher welfare meat and dairy in their products – not only during Veganuary but throughout the year.”

Jones continues saying that by making small changes to our diets each day, “we can make a huge difference to our health and to the health of the planet, and there are clear opportunities out there for food businesses to lead the way and to benefit from it.”

The news comes as the UK is set to become a world-leading developer of lab-grown meat as the sector is predicted to rapidly increase its market share within the food industry, research shows.



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