Younger consumers are fuelling meatless mania: Survey

Canadians 18-34 are more than twice as likely than the 55+ crowd to have tried plant-based meat substitutes


As the meatless movement takes off, older consumers are asking, “Where’s the beef?”

A new survey from Angus Reid Institute found that Canadians 18-34 are considerably more likely than older folks to have tried plant-based proteins: 58% of 18-34-year-olds have tried them compared to 36% among those 35-54 and 27% of the 55+ cohort.

Among those who haven’t tried plant-based meat substitutes, younger consumers are the most willing: 48% say they’re likely to try them sometime in the next three months compared to 34% of those 35-54 and 26% of those 55+.

Nearly all 1,530 respondents say they’re familiar with plant-based meat alternatives (95%), but only around four in 10 (39%) have actually tried them. For those who have tried them, 80% say they liked or loved the taste, including 75% non-vegetarians.

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Is the meatless movement a fad or is it here to stay? According to the survey, 55% of Canadians think plant-based proteins are here to stay. Again, there is a great divide among generations: 70% of Canadians 18-34 say plant-based proteins are here to stay, compared to 51% of those 35-54 and 48% of those 55+.

The study also looked at the economic impact of plant-based protein sales in Canada. The report states that this question “comes amidst considerable anxiety from both producers and industry analysts about the impact that a large-scale consumer shift to plant-based proteins could have on Canada’s lucrative meat and dairy markets.”

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One in three respondents (35%) believe the impact of consumers buying more plant-based proteins will be positive for the economy—more than those who say it will be negative (21%). The largest group (44%) says they are still unsure what the effect will be.

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In Alberta, Canada’s beef capital, pessimism about the economic impact of more plant-based proteins (35%) outpaces optimism (21%)—the only region where this is the case.