Unlocking the future of meat: report reveals insights and opportunities in the UK plant-based meat sector
18 October 2023
A new report released today, called “What we know about UK plant-based meat consumers“, finds that plant-based meat (PBM) alternatives are emerging as a promising avenue for individuals looking to make a dietary shift away from meat consumption.
The report is based on a survey of 1,000 UK citizens and delves deeply into the fascinating world of plant-based meat consumption across the UK.
“In a world where conscious consumerism is on the rise, it is not surprising that we found that nearly one third of the UK population is actively seeking ways to reduce their meat consumption,” Mathilde Alexandre, Institutional and Corporate Engagement Lead at ProVeg, said.
“The report also reveals really exciting opportunities with omnivores. Here, the food industry needs to cater to their taste buds with delicious plant-based foods, and provide them with clear information about the many advantages of plant-based meats,” Alexandre added.
The research was conducted through a collaborative effort between leading research firm Bryant Research, global nonprofit ProVeg International, and forward-thinking consultancy Plant Futures.
Key takeaways from the report:
- Growing curiosity: In just two years, the number of UK residents who have tried PBMs has surged from 53% to a remarkable 73%, signalling an undeniable shift in dietary preferences.
- Changing habits: While 39% of those who have tasted plant-based meat now enjoy it, 34% are purchasing it less frequently. Understanding this shift in consumer behaviour is pivotal for the industry’s future.
- Demographic insights: Among regular PBM consumers, one third are omnivores, proving that PBMs have broad appeal. An astounding 43% of flexitarians (including pescatarians), and 25% of vegans or vegetarians consume plant-based meats regularly.
- Taste matters: The report underscores that taste remains the paramount consideration, especially for omnivores. Flexitarians prioritise health benefits, highlighting the diverse motivations behind PBM consumption.
- Price perception: A notable barrier is the perception that PBMs are more expensive than their animal-based counterparts, with most consumers believing the price difference to be in the range of 20-50%.
- Information hunger: A staggering 51% of consumers are hungry for more knowledge about plant-based meats, with a particular interest in understanding the benefits compared to animal-based meat and addressing nutritional concerns.
In the words of the experts:
“This research underscores the important factors for plant-based meat companies to improve in order to get the market back to healthy growth. Producers need to continue driving taste and quality up, and driving price down – these factors emerged as the biggest concerns for consumers who have lapsed in this category.” – Chris Bryant, lead researcher.
“Take-aways from the data include the need for innovation in taste and texture, and for clearer labelling and product information to aid consumer understanding. We know people are curious, but companies and retailers can help make the plant-based sector more appealing and help shape the future of food.” – Jasmijn de Boo, CEO of ProVeg International.
“This report helps to give businesses and academics more clarity on recent shifts in the UK’s plant-based meat buying behaviours. We can see clearly what is going well for plant-based meats and who the loyalists are, as well as answering big questions around who is lapsing, why they are lapsing and how to win them back. An important read for businesses who are already trading in the UK and looking to grow.” – Indy Kaur, Strategic Advisor of Plant Futures.
For a comprehensive exploration of the UK’s evolving plant-based meat landscape, the complete report, “What we know about UK plant-based meat consumers” is available for download here.
Notes to Editors
For media inquiries, email Peter Rixon at [email protected]
About ProVeg International
ProVeg International is a food awareness organisation with the mission to replace 50% of animal products globally with plant-based and cultivated foods by 2040. Our vision is a world where everyone chooses delicious and healthy food that is good for all humans, animals, and our planet.
About Bryant Research
Bryant Research is a UK research organisation which works to advance the protein transition through research, policy, and advocacy in partnership with alternative protein companies and animal protection nonprofits .
About Plant Futures
Plant Futures is a leading UK consultancy and insights partner for plant-based food businesses. Plant Futures works with businesses across the full food supply chain from manufacturers and suppliers to brands and retailers, building commercial plans to help more people to eat more plants and supporting a healthier and more sustainable food system.