Studies & Numbers

61% of Consumers Worldwide Describe Plants as a Preferred Protein Source

  • New report finds that the majority of consumers say plants are a preferred protein source, overtaking animal protein.

A report by leading taste and nutrition company Kerry has examined consumer attitudes towards protein across the globe. It found that most consumers strongly associate protein with health, with attitudes to plant-based proteins becoming significantly more positive in recent years.

Worldwide, 61% of consumers considered plants to be a preferred protein source, compared to 50% for animal protein — an 11% difference. Those in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region had particularly positive opinions about plant protein, preferring it by 16% and 21% respectively.

Previous Kerry reports have also highlighted the high demand for plant proteins in the Asia-Pacific, with research at the beginning of November finding that 62% of consumers in the region want to buy plant-based meat. In an interview, Kerry’s Business Development Director of Plant Alternatives Didier Chanove told vegconomist that the Asia-Pacific would have the largest share of the global plant-based market by 2025.

A protein shake. © Kerry

In the new report, North Americans and Latin Americans showed a slight preference for animal protein, which outranked plants by 7% and 3% respectively. However, interest in plant protein has still increased significantly in these regions, and it seems likely that it could overtake animal protein in the coming years.

When consumers were asked why they preferred plant protein, the most common responses were that it is more sustainable, better quality, more nutritious, and more ethical. The report also found that there has been a sharp rise in plant-based product launches, including a 49% increase in new snacks containing plant protein.

“There is little doubt the protein revolution in food and beverages offers exciting and dynamic opportunities for all product developers,” said Soumya Nair, Kerry’s Global Director of Consumer Research and Insights. “This timely report provides a range of insights to consider incorporating within their short- and long-term product planning and development processes.”

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