Recent meat shortage could offer opportunity for plant-based proteins

by Heather

Recent meat shortage could offer opportunity for plant-based proteins

Recent meat shortage could offer opportunity for plant-based proteins

InsightsNow’s Clean Label Enthusiasts® research community claims to be prepared for meat shortages, due to the Coronavirus, by eating vegetarian or purchasing alternative meats

11 June 2020 – Chicago, IL – InsightsNow, a behavioral research firm, has announced the latest results of their ongoing study with their proprietary Clean Label Enthusiasts® (CLE) consumer research community, “COVID-19 Tracker on Clean Living Behavior.” These trend-setting consumers shared thoughts on how meat is becoming harder to find and more expensive due to complications from the current pandemic, and the effect on their shopping behavior.

According to a CLE from the recent study: “I feel prepared for a meat shortage because I am willing to eat plant-based proteins or any protein options I can find in stores. If I can’t find fresh chicken or beef, I will eat other meat options like veggies burgers or beans. I really see a meat shortage as a chance to make healthier, more environmentally friendly, more resourceful food choices.”

Some key findings from the study:

  • During a meat shortage 60% of CLE would switch to a vegetarian diet. Currently, only 14% are following a vegetarian diet.
  • CLE who have never tried plant-based meats are primarily motivated to try because they believe it is healthier (29%), they are curious about the taste (31%), and they can avoid animal hormones (19%).
Plant-based meat alternatives have opportunity to grow market share during a meat shortage, as Clean Label Enthusiasts (CLE) are comfortable eating a plant-based diet and are willing to use plant-based meats in place of fresh meat with similar pricing. Supporting data includes:
  • Only 12% of CLE say they would pay higher prices (specifically twice as much) to continue eating fresh meat.
  • Eighty-two percent of CLE are open to trying plant-based meat alternatives.
For example, the study participants shared they are specifically looking for ground plant-based meat alternatives as a comparable alternative for burgers, tacos, spaghetti, and other dishes they regularly prepare.

“I imagine that ground chuck would be the hardest meat product to go without,” says a CLE consumer. “But I would not be upset if I could not afford to buy it for a period of time, because I would easily substitute it with plant-based patties and other frozen forms of plant-based substitutes.”

Results from this wave of the study show the majority of people (69%) feel prepared for a meat shortage because they feel confident and accepting of adjusting their diet to be more vegetarian and/or pescatarian, they already have a freezer stocked with meat, or they don’t eat much meat on a regular basis anyway. Consumers have already navigated a toilet paper shortage, face masks, and social distancing during this pandemic and the study found they are desensitized to the stressor of having a meat shortage.

As one CLE states: “My family has been eating less meat lately anyway…I’m perfectly happy eating plant-based proteins. I’ve wanted to experiment with a more vegetarian/vegan diet for a while and now would be a good time to do so.”

Each week InsightsNow’s Clean Label Enthusiast® community of primary shoppers reveals motivations for purchasing behaviors through an online shopping journal. Data is collected each Friday – Monday and released Wednesdays. The study gives insights into the swiftly changing landscape of clean-living behaviors during this time by tracking behavior pre-pandemic, current short-term shifts, and potential permanent changes.

Each week, new study information will be added to the InsightsNow COVID-19 Tracker on Clean Living Behavior.

To learn more about the study and enquire about upcoming research topics, reach out to InsightsNow at