Datamonitor study points to meat-reduced flexitarianism diets

Research carried out by consumer analyst company Datamonitor has suggested consumer are moving away from meat, posing “significant concern for meat manufacturers”.

Datamonitor reported a move towards ’flexitarianism’ diets, which practise meat reduction as opposed to complete avoidance, in its report on moderation and avoidance. Datamonitor reported that 31% of consumers choose to limit their intake of meat. The analysts said this was because of lifestyle, religious and cultural beliefs, ethical and environmental considerations, and rising prices.

Tanvi Savara, food and drink analyst at Datamonitor Consumer, said this would be of concern to the meat industry. “Research by Datamonitor Consumer shows a growth in the proportion of meat-free ready meal launches over the past five years,” said Savara. “This suggests that the segment of consumers adopting a flexitarian mentality will increase in the years ahead and become a significant concern for meat manufacturers.”

However, the research also suggested health issues linked to meat, such as the latest meat-breast cancer media scare, which was rubbished by industry, are also to blame for reduced consumption: “Greater consumer awareness about the negative health implications of overconsumption of meat is a key factor driving the ‘flexitarianism’ trend by choosing to limit their intake of meat and animal products,” added Savara. “Three in four global consumers who limit their meat intake claim to be making conscious attempts to eat more healthily.”

The claims of lower meat consumption have been challenged by Norman Bagley, policy director at the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS), who suggested demand for meat was in fact growing: “The global demand for meat continues to rise inexorably and I suspect that the opinions of 31% of global consumers to limit their intake will be heavily outweighed by the reality of an increasing population worldwide. Furthermore, many nations once considered poor are now becoming much more affluent, with their consumers again increasing demand.”

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