June 30, 2022

New report finds the demand for meat outweighs meat avoidance

New report finds the demand for meat outweighs meat avoidance 

By: Sydney Sheffield 

Researchers from Kansas State University and Purdue University have released the report Meat demand outdoes meat avoidance. The report found that even with the increase in plant-based fake meat products, Americans are still consuming meat. 

“Three-fourths of the U.S. public is still what I’d call a regular meat consumer,” said Glynn Tonsor, an economist with Kansas State University. “That's where our domestic, robust meat demand is coming from. The remaining one-fourth is either a flexitarian or vegan or vegetarian. You can have strong, national meat demand and also have a growing number that are looking for something different. And I think that's exactly what we've got going on.”

In 2021, Americans wanted to consume 31% more beef, 24% more pork, and 40% more chicken than they did two decades prior. The report also found while Millennials are the group most willing to try alternative proteins, they are also the generational group that consumes meat at the highest rate. Jack Bobo, Director of Global Food and Water Policy for the Nature Conservancy said about this statistic, “Those two things can be true at the same time. They're open to all alternatives, and they like the products that are available."

One factor the report found for the decision to eat meat or fake meat products, was income. While steak and other proteins are seen as luxury items by some families, the researchers found younger respondents with college degrees or incomes over $100,000, and those residing in the West, are most likely to indicate being vegan or vegetarian and may represent “meat avoidance.” 

The study also found that 64.2% of those with a household income above $100,000 are predicted to declare as regular consumers of animal products. Of those with household incomes of $100,000 or less, 74.2% are unlikely to declare they are regular consumers of animal products. Finally, 12.2% of those with a household income above $100,000 are predicted to declare as vegan or vegetarian versus 4.5% of those with household incomes of $100,000 or less.

Bobo suggests the meat industry take a different approach when marketing meat products over plant-based alternatives. “If you tell somebody to not eat hamburgers, they're going to go eat a double quarter pounder just to stick it to you. I think it hurts when people attack the sector. But instead of responding in terms of 'well don't eat plant-based meat,' talk about 'well, you know, here's the reason why you should feel good about what you're doing.'”

Read the report here.