© ProVeg International
A survey funded by the EU’s Smart Protein project has found that 51% of meat eaters in Europe claim they are actively reducing their annual meat consumption.
The survey was carried out by food awareness organisation ProVeg International, in partnership with the University of Copenhagen and Ghent University. 7,500 people in ten European countries took part in the research.
ProVeg’s CEO Jasmijn de Boo said that industry and policy makers can use the knowledge gathered from the report to make decisions on the production and promotion of plant-based foods.
When asked about their primary motivation for reducing meat consumption, 47% of respondents said it was for health reasons, particularly in Romania and Italy. This was followed by environmental concerns (29%), mostly in Denmark and the Netherlands, and animal welfare (26%), mostly in Germany and the Netherlands.
The figure of 51% reducing meat consumption is up from 46% in a previous Smart Protein survey published in 2021.
A total of 27% of European consumers said they identified as flexitarians, a 10% decrease compared to the figure recorded in 2021.
Additionally, 66% of Europeans claimed to consume legumes ‘at least occasionally,’ with 53% expressing a desire to consume them more frequently. On average, 28% of Europeans said they consume at least one plant-based food alternative at least once a week, up from 21% in 2021.
Home consumption of plant-based alternatives for convenience took the lead at 67%, and supermarkets retain the primary source for plant-based purchases at 60%.
ProVeg said that the findings show ‘promising changes’ in EU consumer preferences and behaviours made over the past two years.
Nearly half (46%) of Europeans reported an increase in their trust in plant-based alternatives when compared to two years ago. 62% of respondents also said they are in favour of tax-free food products that support environmental and health values.
Smart Protein co-ordinator, Emanuele Zannini, said that it was important to provide clear and simple information about the ingredient’s origin and processes and the technology applied for the development of safe and nutritious plant-based food products.
“This will encourage more and more consumers – including the more sceptical ones – to embrace, with more confidence, a shift towards a better diet for their health and for the planet,” Zannini said. “This is a clear target for food scientists and food ingredient industries.”
Cindy Schoumacher, policy officer at the European Commission, added: “As stated in the Farm to Fork Strategy, alternative proteins, such as plant, microbial or marine proteins, is one of key areas of research for a sustainable, healthy and inclusive food system”.
“The Smart Protein project is providing key information to fill knowledge gaps on alternative proteins and contributes to the achievement of the objectives of the European Green Deal.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2023
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