Plant-based alternatives will not be the demise of traditional meat. That’s the word from The Nielsen Company, in the new report The F Word: Flexitarian Is Not a Curse to the Meat Industry. Flexitarians–medium to heavy buyers of both meat and meat alternatives–account for 37% of all meat alternative buyers and spend $643 on meat every year—that’s $165 more per year than the average meat buyer, Nielsen reports.
Using insights derived from several surveys from 2018-2019, Nielsen determined that 5% of U.S. households are vegan or vegetarian and the rest are omnivores. Additionally, nearly 60% of U.S. consumers agree that having the right dietary balance of both animal and plant foods is important.
Plant Protein Takeaways:
- 21.6% of U.S. households are purchasing meat alternatives.
- Meat alternatives are shy of crossing the billion-dollar mark, coming in at $893 million sales in 2018.
- 62% of consumers are willing to reduce meat consumption due to environmental concerns.
- 43% of consumers say they would replace meat-based protein with plant-based protein.
- 12% of consumers say they would be willing to eat cell-cultured meat grown in a lab.
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Even though there’s a surge in meat alternatives, traditional protein staples still make up the vast majority of the industry, Nielsen notes. One reason, the report suggests, is relative affordability: Chicken, pork, and turkey cost 2 cents per gram–meat alternatives cost 10 cents, nuts 13 cents and nutrition bars 20 cents.
Meat Protein Takeaways:
- Meat accounted for $95 billion in sales in 2018
- Meat from the deli department represents only 17% of total meat sales and 31% of U.S. dollar growth within meat overall.