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Health Consciousness Drives Protein Alternative Consumption

March 6, 2017

As more consumers adopt healthier lifestyles, interest in meat substitutes is growing.

While not fully committing to a meat-free lifestyle, ‘Meatless Mondays’ seem to be catching on among Americans as a way to cut back with new research from Mintel revealing that the top reason U.S. consumers use meat alternatives is because they occasionally like to have meat-free days (31%).

Health reasons are also driving interest, with three in 10 protein alternatives consumers saying that they are watching their cholesterol (30%) and are worried about eating too much saturated fat (29%). Indeed, Mintel research indicates that more than one third (35%) of Americans are eating protein more from sources other than red meat. However, while more than two thirds (66%) of protein alternatives consumers agree they are healthier than real meat, nearly half (46%) say that protein alternatives products are too high in sodium.

In addition to health reasons, protein alternatives seem to be playing a part in leading a healthier lifestyle as more than one quarter (28%) of those who use protein alternatives are trying to lose weight. Indeed, some 29% of new meat substitutes in 2016 featured a low-calorie or low-carbohydrate claim, up from 7.1% of new products in 2015, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD).

“Americans are embracing popular trends like ‘Meatless Mondays’ as an easy and consistent way to include meat-free meals into their diets in an effort to reduce meat consumption as health concerns surrounding red meat continue to grow. With so many consumers turning to protein from sources other than meat and poultry, there is an opportunity for marketers to reach a sizable group with concerns related to health, particularly cholesterol and fat content,” said Billy Roberts, senior rood and drink analyst at Mintel.

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