According to recent research, almost half of consumers worldwide believe that within ten years, plant-based food will replace meat and become the standard.
Research company GlobeScan received information from around 30,000 people in 31 different nations. Surveys were carried out in collaboration with the nonprofit organization EAT, which promotes a sustainable food system.
The latter published the findings in its Grains of Truth 2022 study, which presents global perspectives on wholesome and equitable food options.
Consumer perceptions of meat
In the next ten years, “most people will definitely or probably” eat plant-based foods rather than animal meat, according to 42% of those polled. Younger people and respondents from Africa and Asia were more inclined to agree with this statement.
The latest report also notes an increase in the number of individuals who are switching to vegetarian or vegan diets for themselves.
In 2019, 17% of those surveyed indicated they consume “vegetarian/vegan food” frequently or exclusively. This has increased to 22% in the 2022 report.
“The fact that so many people around the world are becoming more interested in eating healthy and sustainable food is an encouraging sign,” said EAT founder Dr. Gunhild Stordalen.
“A few years ago it would be unthinkable that 42 percent of people globally would believe plant-based food will replace meat inside a decade. But the public is starting to understand the escalating climate and nature crises and the dangers it brings to their everyday lives as it intertwines with the pandemic, the war against Ukraine, and the accelerating cost of living crisis.”
In fact, 51% of respondents to the survey said they were worried about food security. 60% of participants rated food shortages as a “serious concern” due to the COVID-19 epidemic and continued war against Ukraine.
In addition, 92 percent of respondents stated that their monthly food budget had increased.
However, a large majority of customers valued adopting environmentally friendly food choices. Among those surveyed, 80% said they place a high premium on purchasing ethically produced food. Despite the current crisis in the cost of living, 64% of respondents said they would be willing to pay extra for these things.
Growing popularity of plant-based diets
According to the Grains of Truth 2022 research, people of all ages are becoming more interested in meat alternatives. With 40 and 43 percent of Gen Z (12–26) and Millennials (26–41) expressing interest in plant-based eating, respectively, they are leading the drive.
Baby Boomers (aged 58 to 76) and Gen X (aged 42 to 57) are not far behind, though.
The Gen X group reported that 37% of them are eager to explore plant-based cuisine. 28 percent of “Boomers” said they are highly interested in plant-based diets, which is more than a quarter of all respondents.
The latest survey is consistent with earlier studies on the public’s perceptions of meat. According to a survey commissioned by the Good Food Institute, half of Western Europeans have cut back on their meat consumption over the past five years.
Experts advise against meat to protect the environment
It is timely for consumers to be more accepting of plant-based diets.
Plant-based diets are seen by many climatologists as an effective defense against the escalating climate problem. This is caused in part by the enormous amount of greenhouse gasses produced by animal husbandry, which accounts for at least 14.5 percent of all global emissions.
Deforestation is still a major problem. The Amazon rainforest, one of the largest carbon sinks on earth, has undergone such extensive deforestation to support animal farms that it is now, for the first time, emitting more carbon than it is absorbing.
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