- Two-fifths of US consumers have considered going vegetarian or vegan since the pandemic began
- 20% of consumers identified health concerns as the primary driver for these choices, and males are twice as likely as females to become vegan or vegetarian for this reason.
- Nearly three-quarters (71%) say they have paid more attention than ever to food provenance such as food labels and country of origin since the start of the pandemic
- Two-thirds (68%) suggest they are now eating more organic food
- The survey of more than 1,000 US adults was commissioned by Proagrica, a global provider of technology solutions for the agriculture and animal health industries.
Organic and ethically sourced foods
Eating habits are more influenced by ethics and sustainability, study finds... New research has shown Americans’ eating habits have become more influenced by ethics and sustainability over the past year: nearly three-quarters (71%) say they have paid more attention than ever to food provenance such as food labels and country of origin since the start of the pandemic.
Graeme McCracken, managing director at Proagrica, says: “Diets were already changing before the pandemic, but the past 12 months have seen a huge shift in Americans’ eating habits. There is more focus than ever before on where food comes from and how it was made and consumers won’t stand for food that lacks ethical and sustainable credentials.
Businesses in the food and agriculture industries need to actively show how they are working together to improve their operational processes. They need to be able to demonstrate that every single grain grown, fish caught and steak produced meets the exacting standards of an increasingly well-informed public," said Graeme McCracken, managing director of Proagrica.
Thankfully, and reinforced in every industry conference, product launch and data insight, this focus on stewardship and standards is core to everything our industry is delivering.”
Vegetables, vegetables, vegetables
The pandemic is fueling a shift away from meat, study finds... The study reveals that two-fifths (39%) of US consumers have considered going vegetarian or vegan since the pandemic began. Nearly a fifth (17%) ate less meat and 28% upped their alt-protein (such as soya and plant-based) during 2020. Overall, 20% of consumers identified health concerns as the primary driver for these choices, and males are twice as likely as females to become vegan or vegetarian for this reason.
While health is the primary motivation behind dietary change, the cost of meat is not far behind - cited as an issue by 28% of the sample. Sustainability is also rising up the consumer agenda and over a quarter (27%) of respondents are concerned about the environmental impacts of meat. Attitudes are borne out by shopping trends; a quarter are opting for less polluting food types and nearly a third (29%) are buying local produce to reduce food miles.
While COVID-19 has clearly been the driving force in persuading many to change their diets, there are a whole raft of reasons for people choosing to reduce their meat intake. While there is clearly some crossover in audiences, the combined factors suggest changing dietary choices offer a real chance for plant-based foods to become a mainstream concern over the course of this year.
Also, as shoppers are thinking more closely about issues such as provenance and food miles, the spotlight will fall on retailers and the hospitality sector to demonstrate transparency from seed to fork.”