Japanese Consumers are Reducing Meat, Prefer Vegetables to Meat Substitutes

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A recent report shows that in Japan, more consumers are choosing good-for-me, good-for-earth foods, due to increased environmental concerns, animal welfare, and for their own health. However, just only 20% of Japanese are choosing eat meat substitutes, preferring to eat vegetables than meatlike alternatives.

FMCG Gurus research shows that in Japan, currently 7% of consumers never eat meat and 32% only eat meat sometimes. Of these consumers 9% have stopped eating meat in the last 12 months and 36% have made attempts to reduce meat intake. The main reason for this is health with 56% associating eating less meat with being healthier. Of the consumers who already eat a reduced meat diet, 46% are doing so due to concerns over animal welfare.

Asian couple Japanese vegans
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Of the consumers who still eat meat on a regular basis, 18% have made efforts to reduce meat intake. The main reason these consumers are looking to reduce meat is environmental concern. Growing awareness about the connection between animal agriculture and climate change has led to many consumers becoming flexitarian (32%).

Meat substitutes 

The research showed that only 20% of consumers in Japan currently eat meat alternatives. There are a number of reasons why consumers in Japan are avoiding these. For example, 40% felt that meat alternatives do not make them feel full, 35% said there is a lack of flavour and variety, 33% prefer to eat vegetables over meat replacements. Of the 20% who do eat meat alternatives, over half believe it is important that it is naturally formulated. When it comes to flavors, mushroom (72%) and tofu (51%) are the top two preferred flavours with only 26% liking meatlike flavours.

Colour is one way brands can make plant-based foods more appealing, with 60% of consumers stating that colour and appearance is important. 65% believe colour helps make the product look visually appealing and 58% say it increases flavor expectations. However, brands must make sure the colouring is natural. 50% state they would expect natural color and 67% want color from fruits, vegetables, and plants.