CHICAGO — More than a third of U.S. consumers use meat alternatives like tofu or tempeh even though just 7% identify as vegetarians, according to new research from Mintel.
These consumers also aren’t necessarily using the alternatives to make meat-free meals.
Sixteen percent of shoppers use meat alternatives alongside meats, while less than half use them as meat replacements.
“This data suggests that participation in the alternative meat category stretches far beyond necessity, and creates an opportunity for future growth based on the products’ ability to meet general consumer food interests, such as health, price, variety and convenience,” Beth Bloom, food and drink analyst at Mintel, said in a statement.
“Product manufacturers and marketers have a chance to come out from behind the veil of ‘substitute’ and stake a claim as a food option that stands on its own.”
The biggest draw for meat alternatives is perceived health benefits. Mintel found one-third of consumers use meat alternatives because they are healthy, and 51% say they are healthier than meat.
Other reasons for using meat alternatives include a desire to cut back on meat consumption (31%) and consumers who just like the taste (31%).
|Suggested Categories||More from Supermarketnews|