A recent new survey just revealed that at least half of the Europeans are actively eating less meat and many of them switch to a plant-based diet.
Research firms ProVeg International and Innova Market Insights teamed up with experts from the University of Copenhagen and Ghent University to conduct the study.
The EUR 10 million funding was organized by the Smart Protein Project.
The EU’s Smart Protein project helped fund it.
The research included more than 7000 participants and was based in 10 European countries: Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, and the UK.
Moving away from meat is becoming “the new normal in Europe,” a report on the research says.
Thirty-seven percent of Europeans in the sample identified as vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian (the term used for those who actively eat less meat).
At least 46 percent of participants said they have reduced their meat consumption in the last year. For flexitarians, this number is bigger and jumps up; 73 percent said they’re eating less meat than they were a year ago.
Carnivores included around 30 percent that said they plan to consume less dairy and meat in the next six months. 26 and 25 percent said they’ll be consuming more vegan dairy and meat alternatives, respectively, in the next six months.
Future of plant-based food
The main barriers to eating more plant-based food are the lack of availability in restaurants and supermarkets, the relatively higher cost, and the lack of information and education.
This movement is being led by the younger generations. Millennials and those from Generation Z tend to encourage their parents to eat less meat, too.
Vinciane Patelou, director of ENSA-European Plant-Based Foods Association said.
“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.”
Jasmijn De Boo, vice president at ProVeg International, recognizes a significant opportunity in the sector.
“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,” she said. “Consumer demand for alternative proteins is growing at a remarkable rate, with no end in sight.”