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STUDY: Lockdown Turned New Plant-Based Meat Buyers Into Full-Blown Converts

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When asked why they bought plant-based meat this year, 54% of new purchasers believe it’s safer than animal protein, while 57% said it’s healthier than animal protein.

T.L. STANLEY: If you’ve eaten a meatless burger or faux sausage patty for the first time during the global pandemic, you’re not alone. And chances are you’re not a one-and-done consumer in the fast-growing alternative protein category. According to a recent study, you may become a full-fledged convert to plant-based eating. Research from Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), one of the world’s largest food producers, found that 97% of people who tried their first fake meat products during the Covid-19 public health crisis intend to purchase them again…

According to ADM’s data, new buyers are flooding into the category, and existing fans are consuming more plant-based meat, most often burgers (preferred by 54% of those polled), sausage (41%), chicken nuggets (41%) and meatballs (38%)… Consumers eat plant-based meat at traditional meal times (62% at lunch, 61% at dinner and 45% at breakfast), though about 29% said they’re choosing faux protein for snacks.

When asked why they bought faux meat this year, with 54% of new purchasers and 42% of existing fans saying they believe it’s safer than animal protein, and 57% of newbies and 46% of repeat buyers saying it’s healthier than animal protein. U.S. consumers cited health, safety and convenience as their top reasons for buying brands like Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat, Dr. Praeger’s, Lightlife, MorningStar Farms and Gardein.

“Covid created this interesting window of trial with a high potential for adoption of the category,” said Ana Ferrell, ADM’s vice president of marketing. “What we eat has changed in the last six months, and that’s going to lead to some exciting innovations and market introductions in the next 12 to 18 months.”

Americans aren’t going full vegetarian, not in significant numbers anyway. But more people are identifying themselves as flexitarian, a group that Ferrell estimates would be nearly 70% of the population if a poll were taken today. “It’s no longer a consumer segment like it was five years ago,” she said of flexitarianism. “It’s mainstream. It’s a lifestyle”. SOURCE…

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