ProVeg International has partnered with Innova Market Insights, the University of Copenhagen, and Ghent University to conduct a survey on European consumer attitudes to plant-based foods.
The survey, which is part of the Smart Protein project, questioned over 7,500 people from ten countries — Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, and the UK. 7% of respondents were already plant-based, while a further 30% were flexitarian.
There were some striking results, with 46% of respondents saying they had already reduced their meat consumption. Just under 40% said they would cut down on meat more over the coming year, while about 30% had plans to cut down on dairy. Almost a third intended to significantly increase their consumption of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives.
However, 45% of flexitarians said there weren’t enough plant-based options available, while 50% said the existing options were too expensive. About 60% trusted that plant-based foods were safe and accurately labelled, with most preferring plant-based over fungi or algae-based options.
Flexitarians also said that taste and health were the most important considerations when buying a plant-based product, with freshness, lack of additives, and low prices also playing a key role.
Plant-based poultry, beef, salmon, and tuna were the alt-meat and alt-seafood products respondents said they would most like to see. Plant-based mozzarella and sliced cheese topped the list of dairy alternatives.
The Smart Protein Project
The Smart Protein Project is funded by the EU and was founded to develop alt-protein products that are healthy, environmentally friendly, and increase food security. For example, the project is working to develop the next generation of plant-based seafood. It has also conducted research into the most sustainable protein sources that could be grown in Europe, finding that lentils, chickpeas, fava beans, and quinoa may be the answer.
“The survey suggests tremendous potential for plant-based foods in Europe and gives a green light to all relevant players in the field to develop more and better products. Consumer demand for alternative proteins is growing at a remarkable rate, with no end in sight,” said Jasmijn de Boo, Vice President of ProVeg International.