While food and drink companies are currently riding the high protein bandwagon, there is growing evidence to suggest that this could be a short-term phenomenon. According to Datamonitor, 31% of global consumers choose to limit their intake of meat. This is indicative of the trend towards “flexitarian” eating—a dietary approach that champions the reduction, rather than complete avoidance, of meat. The reasons for exercising such restraint are varied, and include religious and cultural beliefs, ethical and environmental considerations, and rising grocery prices. An important factor is also that consumers are increasingly conscious of the negative health impacts associated with a diet rich in animal protein.
“Greater consumer awareness about the negative health implications of overconsumption of meat is a key factor driving the ‘flexitarianism’ trend by choosing to limit their intake of meat and animal products,” said Tanvi Savara, Food and Drink Analyst at Datamonitor Consumer. “Three in four global consumers who limit their meat intake claim to be making conscious attempts to eat more healthily.”
Interestingly, restrained meat consumption is emerging as a popular mode of achieving weight loss, with half of all consumers limiting the amount of meat they consume when they are actively trying to lose weight.
“Research by Datamonitor Consumer shows a growth in the proportion of meat-free ready meal launches over the last five years,” said Savara. “This suggests that the segment of consumers adopting a flexitarian mentality will increase in the years ahead and become a significant concern for meat manufacturers.”