Revolution in eating habits EU: Plant-based on the rise
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Revolution in eating habits EU: Plant-based on the rise

  • 08 December 2023

A recent pan-European survey, funded by the EU's Smart Protein project, sheds light on evolving dietary trends across the continent. Titled ‘Evolving appetites: an in-depth look at European attitudes towards plant-based eating,’ the survey reveals a notable shift in meat consumption patterns.

Over half (51%) of European meat eaters are actively reducing their annual meat intake, a significant increase from 46% in 2021. Health considerations emerge as the primary motivation, influencing 47% of respondents. Notably, Romania and Italy lead in prioritizing health as a reason for reducing meat consumption.

Environmental and Ethical Considerations

Environmental concerns rank second (29%), predominantly in Denmark and the Netherlands, followed by animal welfare motivations (26%), notably in Germany and the Netherlands. The findings suggest a nuanced interplay of health, environmental, and ethical considerations in shaping European dietary choices.

Insights for the Future: Recommendations for Growth

Jasmijn de Boo, CEO of ProVeg International, emphasizes the report's significance in understanding the long-term potential of the plant-based sector. With an increasing number of people opting for reduced meat intake, stakeholders, including policymakers and the industry, can leverage these insights to inform decisions on production and promotion of plant-based foods.

Key Survey Highlights

The survey, conducted by ProVeg in collaboration with the University of Copenhagen and Ghent University, encompassed 7,500 participants across 10 European countries. Key findings include a 10% decrease in self-identified flexitarians (27% in 2023 compared to 30% in 2021), a growing interest in plant-based alternatives, and a notable preference for legumes.

Furthermore, 66% of Europeans claim occasional legume consumption, with 53% expressing a desire for more frequent inclusion. Home consumption of plant-based alternatives takes the lead at 67%, while supermarkets remain the primary source for plant-based purchases at 60%. Notably, 46% of respondents report increased trust in plant-based alternatives compared to two years ago.

Download the survey report ‘Evolving appetites: an in-depth look at European attitudes towards plant-based eating’

Source: Smart Protein