A pan-European survey, by ProVeg International in partnership with Innova Market Insights, the University of Copenhagen, and Ghent University as part of the Smart Protein project, has indicated that there is a significant shift towards plant-based eating taking place across the continent.
The survey, titled ‘What do consumers want: a European survey on consumer attitudes towards plant-based foods, with a focus on flexitarians’, comes as world leaders meet at COP26 to discuss actions to meet their climate targets. Animal products account for 82% of the carbon emissions of European diets – but research shows that moving towards plant-based meat could reduce emissions by 30-90%.
The survey asked more than 7,500 people in 10 European countries (Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, UK) about their attitudes towards the consumption of plant-based foods, their trust in relation to such products, their current consumption habits, the key drivers of their food choices, and various other relevant topics in the field of alternative protein. Plant-based eaters represented 7% of respondents, while 30% of respondents followed a flexitarian diet. Country specific reports were also created and can be downloaded via the link below.
- Almost half of those sampled (46%) stated that they have already reduced their meat consumption significantly.
- Just under 40% of European consumers intended to consume less meat in the near future.
- Around 30% of consumers stated that they intend to reduce their dairy consumption.
- 73% of flexitarians had substantially reduced their meat consumption.
- Almost 30% of Europeans said that they plan to consume substantially more plant-based dairy and meat products.
Perceptions of plant-based products:
- Nearly half of flexitarians (45%) think that there are not enough plant-based choices in supermarkets, restaurants, etc.
- 50% of them perceive plant-based options as being too expensive.
- 48% would like more information about plant-based products.
- Nearly two-thirds of flexitarians (61%) trust that foods based on plant protein are safe, and also think that they are accurately labelled (60%).
- Flexitarians trusted plant-based proteins the most, followed by fungi and algae-based proteins.
The findings on flexitarians also revealed that:
- Potatoes and rice were the preferred ingredients for plant-based food, followed by lentils, almonds, and chickpeas.
- Plant-based poultry, beef, salmon, and tuna are the plant-based meat/fish products that they would most like to see in supermarkets.
- Flexitarians would especially like to see plant-based mozzarella and sliced cheese available.
- Taste and health are the top drivers in terms of flexitarian purchases of plant-based foods, followed by freshness, no additives, and lower prices.
“The survey suggests tremendous potential for plant-based foods in Europe and gives a green light to all relevant players in the field to develop more and better products. Consumer demand for alternative proteins is growing at a remarkable rate, with no end in sight.” Jasmijn de Boo, Vice President, ProVeg International
“Clearly, there is a long-term consumer trend of including vegan protein in the regular diet. The ProVeg report on European consumer attitudes towards plant-based foods illustrates this development in a remarkable way. One thing we do know for sure: Neither meat products alone nor currently available alternative protein options are going to be able to sustainably meet the protein requirements of future generations on their own. A holistic protein platform strategy is needed, which includes ecologically optimized meat production as well as a visionary approach in the field of alternative proteins. Therefore our business unit “alternative proteins” was founded in 2018 and we are working constantly to offer the best and sustainable protein mix of the future.”
Marcus Keitzer, Board Member PHW Group
“The survey underlines one of the key trends of our time and confirms us in defining plant-based foods as a relevant topic for ALDI Nord. As a discount retailer in daily contact with millions of people we do not only have the opportunity but also consider it our responsibility to contribute to a balanced diet. Our aim is to make plant-based food easily available and affordable for everyone. We are committed to our customers’ wishes and thus constantly expanding and optimising our plant-based product range. By labeling relevant food products with the V-Label we make shopping as easy as possible for our customers.“
Christoph Georgius, Business Unit Director Corporate Responsibility and Quality Assurance International, ALDI Nord
“European consumers’ appetite for plant-based foods is here to stay, as shown by the number of Europeans who say they want to eat more plant-based alternatives to dairy and meat in the future. The regulatory framework for these products, for instance in terms of labelling, must not lag behind and should help guide consumers towards these products.” Vinciane Patelou, Director, ENSA-European Plant-based Foods Association
“These findings demonstrate soaring demand for plant-based options from consumers across Europe. But it will take further research and development to achieve the full potential of these foods to cut emissions and relieve pressure on ecosystems. If they are serious about meeting their climate targets, world leaders must invest in sustainable proteins.” Acacia Smith, Policy Manager at the Good Food Institute Europe
Download the main report here.
Download the country specific report here.
Webinar – 16th of November 2021 | 11 am–12 noon (CET)
In this highly informative webinar, you will learn more about citizens’ attitudes towards the consumption of plant-based foods, their trust in relation to such products, their current consumption habits, the key drivers of their food choices, and various other relevant topics in the field of alternative protein. We will identify key actionable insights to support your plant-based strategy. If you work in the food industry, you can’t afford to miss this webinar! Register here.
For more information contact:
+447508 125 611
The Smart Protein Project
Smart Protein is a €10-million, EU-funded project that seeks to develop a new generation of foods that are cost effective, resource efficient, and nutritious. Alternative protein sources such as legumes and side streams from beer and pasta production are used to generate plant-based ingredients and plant-based meat, seafood, dairy products, and baked goods.
ProVeg International is a food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing animal-based products with plant-based and cultured alternatives.
ProVeg works with decision-making bodies, companies, investors, the media, and the general public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less reliant on animal agriculture and more sustainable for all humans, animals, and our planet.
ProVeg has offices in nine countries across four continents and is active around the world. ProVeg has permanent observer status with the UNFCCC, special consultative status with ECOSOC, is accredited for UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award.