Health And Wellness News: Top Consumer Buying Trends in Meat Alternatives

September 14, 2020


360MR Meatless Alt_Blog2

As you may have read in our recent blog post, Meat Alternative Demand Surges During COVID-19, the team here at 360 Market Reach decided to take a closer look at the rising popularity of meat alternatives, a strong trend that accelerated even more quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Utilizing 360 Health and Wellness Community, our proprietary market research online community, we completed a Meat & Meat Alternative Consumption Attitudes and Behaviors quantitative survey. Since these consumers are tuned into consumer trends in health and wellness and the health food scene overall, their feedback provided us important insight into the evolution of meat alternative consumption habits.

Our research explores purchasing habits, target consumer profiles of both meat and meat alternative buyers and reasons why—or why not—consumers choose meat alternatives. In the prior blog post, we talked about the most desired meat alternative ingredients; today we’d like to share a few key trends on what and where people are purchasing meatless alternatives.

The Meat That Everybody Loves

When it comes to the type of alternative meat products that consumers are seeking out, we were interested to learn which products consumers are most likely to buy. As you might expect, beef is the meat most people would like to replace, with meatless burgers as the #1 option for consumers to buy.

Historically, veggie burgers are the most popular option, and have been a commonly used meatless alternative in restaurants and grocery stores for years. While meatless burgers are the most popular meatless alternative, other beef alternatives are also trending in popularity. These include ground beef, meatballs and hot dogs. All of these items are both familiar and popular with consumers, items for which a meatless alternative is very appealing.

Beyond beef, meatless alternatives for meats such as pork, poultry and fish are lower in appeal, with a less than 50% interest level. However, the form of the product plays a strong role in consumer preferences. For example, meatless pork sausages and bacon both ranked far higher than meatless ground pork. Still, the results clearly show that, whether it’s in a burger, meatball or a hot dog, Americans love their beef or beef alternatives!

graphic 2 v3 top five meat alt producs

Consumers are Laser Focused on Health

What is the motivation behind the growing trend in consumers incorporating meat alternatives into their diets? Is it to help people eat more vegetables, to broaden their palates, or are they trying to eat better and live healthier lives? What we have found is that consumers choose alternative meat products primarily for the perceived health benefit. Alternative meat products appeal to organic and natural focused shoppers for overall health benefits, added nutritional value and the opportunity to reduce daily meat intake for a healthier lifestyle. There are many medical studies to support this belief, demonstrating that a vegan or vegetarian diet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and various types of cancer, as well as providing higher quality nutrition overall.

Aside from health benefits derived from reduced meat intake and improved nutritional value, secondary motivators for choosing meat alternatives include the desire to diversify their diets by trying new foods, and lowering their intake of saturated fats. The chart below shows other factors supporting the meat alternatives trend.

graphic 3 why consume v3

In our full report on Meat & Meat Alternative Consumption Attitudes and Behaviors, you’ll get a detailed look at these consumers, and find answers to other relevant questions such as:

  • What are the motivations for consumers buying meatless alternatives?
  • What are the top meatless products that consumers want to buy?
  • What is the purchase cycle of meatless alternatives?
  • What is the meat alternative target demographic profile?

To review our full report and learn how to put our consumer insights on this growing trend to work for your business or brand, please give us a call or send us an email. We’d be happy to share what we’ve learned, and discuss how your business can benefit from our exclusive research.

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