A survey conducted by Opinions Research on behalf of Oatly has found that a third of Irish consumers are buying more meat and dairy alternatives than they were three years ago.
25% of these consumers said they were motivated by concern about climate change (though only 13% were aware that the food system generates a third of global emissions). Another 25% were cutting back to improve their health, and 30% of the 1000 respondents said they would buy even more plant-based products in 2023.
“Dairy alternatives are on the cusp of entering the mainstream in Ireland”
Plant-based foods were most popular among consumers under 50, with 42% of 18-24-year-olds and 48% of 25-34-year-olds likely to consider swapping animal products for a vegan alternative. On the other hand, those over 65 were reluctant to make the change, with over 50% saying they would not consider it. The most commonly cited reason for this was a belief that plant-based products would be inferior in taste. The research comes as Oatly begins its first major brand campaign in Ireland.
“Committed to driving change”
Previous research has also indicated rising demand for plant-based foods in Ireland, with a 2019 study finding that sales of milk alternatives were up 40% compared to the previous year. Demand for vegetarian sausages and burgers had risen by 35%.
For World Vegan Day 2022, over 170 Irish restaurants signed up to offer plant-based options, following campaigning from the group Full Irish Vegan. McDonald’s reported high demand after launching the McPlant burger in Ireland last year, while caterer Sodexo said meat-free dishes had increased from 5% to 8.5% of meals sold across the country.
“This new research shows dairy alternatives are on the cusp of entering the mainstream in Ireland,” said Bryan Carroll, general manager for Oatly in the UK and Ireland. “Climate change is the most significant challenge we face and scientists and researchers agree that we must reduce our consumption of animal-based foods for the benefit of our planet and our future. We’re committed to driving this change by working with retailers and coffee shops across Ireland to make Oatly products widely available.”