Toluna a consumer intelligence platform has found that Australia’s meat consumption is on the decline, with only one in five (20 per cent) Australians eating meat every day.
The research, which surveyed 1026 Australians between 27-30 July 2021, showed that health concerns were the driving factor for a number of dietary decisions, and changing the way consumers shop.
Of the respondents who ate meat, a quarter (25 per cent) had made efforts to reduce their meat consumption, with a further 19 per cent planning to reduce their meat consumption in future.
Almost half (42 per cent) of the meat-eaters surveyed aim to have 1-2 meat-free days per week, 24 per cent go meat-free 3-4 days a week, while 7. per cent choose not to consume meat 5-6 days per week. Only 20 per cent of respondents eat meat every day, with 6 per cent never eating it at all.
Health concerns were the biggest driver for reducing meat consumption (65 per cent), with the high cost of meat (40 per cent) and environmental reasons (30 per cent) listed as other deciding factors. Only 12 per cent of those who have reduced, or plan to reduce, meat conception have made this decision due to moral reasons.
The majority of shoppers (66 per cent) purchase their meat from major supermarkets, with 20 per cent buying from butchers. A small number (8 per cent) buy their meat from small, independent retailers, with only 2 per cent purchasing their meat products from farmer’s markets.
A quarter (25 per cent) of respondents said they had tried plant-based meat alternatives, with the majority of those (66 per cent) stating they will continue to buy them in future and believe plant-based meats are a healthy alternative (70 per cent).
Other reasons respondents enjoy plant-based meat alternatives is because they believe they’re better for the environment (54 per cent), are more ethical (44 per cent), and provide a vegetable boost (44 per cent); while 20 per cent can’t tell the difference between meat-alternatives and real meat.
For those who wouldn’t eat meat alternatives again, it was largely because they thought the plant-based alternatives didn’t have an appealing taste (52 per cent), were too bland (43 per cent), too expensive (39 per cent) or too rubbery (29 per cent).
Their families disliking plant-based meat alternatives (17 per cent) and the food formats not being workable into meal plans (16 per cent) were also reasons for not wanting to try these products in future.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also proven to be a barrier, with 61 per cent of Australians stating COVID-19 has impacted their overall health and attitudes to healthy eating.
Sej Patel, country director, Toluna, Australia & New Zealand said: “Our research shows that health concerns are weighing heavily on Australians, with health being the number one driving factor for the majority of our dietary decisions, which ultimately drive our purchasing decisions.
“Even though a very small number of Australians are currently following a vegan diet, a surprisingly large number are actively reducing their meat intake, and are looking to eat plant-based meat alternatives instead.
“Australian consumers are wanting to improve their eating habits and are actively seeking out healthy food and drink alternatives across a range of categories. Retailers and brands can capitalise on this trend by ensuring they clearly communicate to consumers the health benefits of their products.”
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