Cultivate Research, A leading market research firm on consumer food trends, has recently published the results of what it calls “one of the most comprehensive research studies ever conducted about the attitudes and behavior of U.S. adult consumers toward meat reduction and the consumption of meat and dairy alternative products. This analysis covers how many people are reducing their meat consumption and for what reasons…”
While a recent BusinessWeek article called The Rise of the Power Vegans placed vegans at a mere 1% of the US population, the findings from Cultivate Research reveal a very different reality, casting a much wider net around population segments it calls “meat-reducers” which collectively constitute a much larger and growing percentage of the population. The authors attribute this trend to such key drivers as health, sustainability, ethics, convenience, and cost.
The pie chart on the left is based on the survey results of 3,200 adults and multiple focus groups, supporting the following four segments:
- 61% of survey respondents currently consume meat with “every” meal (14%) or with “most” meals (47%); the reports term these groups “avid” and “regular” meat consumers, respectively.
- One in four U.S. adults (25%) is a “moderate” consumer who currently consumes meat with “about half” of his or her meals.
- Roughly one in eight adults (13%) is a “semi-vegetarian” who currently eats meat with fewer than half of his or her meals.
- About one adult in 100 (1%) is currently a self-reported vegetarian or vegan who “never” consumes meat.1
According to the authors, “the most prevalent trends identified among the dietary practices of the U.S. adult population appear to be a shift toward healthier eating, more scrutiny of food safety and sources, and continued interest in foods that are more convenient.” This shift is not surprisingly a result of more information (and easier access to that information) on healthy eating practices and how they impact human health. “As the ‘baby boomer’ population continues to age and these consumers become increasingly concerned about their personal health, we expect the population dynamics to shift even further in favor of meat reduction for the perceived health benefits.”
In addition to forecasting trends, Cultivate Research has also made available to us some very interesting recent historical data on consumers who range from meat-reducers to vegans. These are illustrated in the tables below.
For further background and methodology details on these studies conducted by Cultivate Research, go to http://cultivateresearch.org/our_research.htm and download the the pdfs.
1Courtesy of Cultivate Research.