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Most consumers in western Europe want alternatives to conventional meat, survey shows

October 3, 2022

Consumers are cutting down on conventional meat across major European countries while interest in plant-based and cultivated meat is growing, a new survey has found.

The study, examining attitudes in France, Spain, Germany and Italy, found more than half of consumers have reduced their conventional meat consumption, with large numbers instead opting for plant-based meat.

In most countries more than half were already willing to buy cultivated meat – made in fermenters rather than by farming animals – and wanted governments to support the development of this new food. More than 60% of consumers in all four countries said alternatives to conventional animal agriculture needed to be found.

The non-profit, Good Food Institute Europe (which commissioned the survey), said this strong public support demonstrates that plant-based and cultivated meat have the potential to deliver the sustainable options consumers want.

The survey, conducted by OpinionWay, asked 4,096 people across the four countries about their meat consumption habits and attitudes towards sustainable proteins.

It found 59% of people in France, 50% in Germany, 61% in Italy and 58% in Spain have reduced their meat consumption over the past five years.

One in two Spaniards and Italians, 27% of French people and 41% of Germans are now eating plant-based meat on a monthly basis, and a quarter of German and Spanish consumers plan to increase their plant-based meat consumption in the next few years.

The survey revealed a growing awareness of cultivated meat, with 65% of Spaniards, 55% of Italians, 57% of Germans and a third of French people already saying they were willing to buy it when it becomes available in Europe.

With large numbers of those surveyed believing cultivated meat would have a positive impact on the environment, the survey found 38% in France, 56% in Germany, 58% in Italy and 68% in Spain wanted governments to support this new way of producing meat.

Across all countries, a majority of people are questioning the impact of conventional animal agriculture on the environment, and 60% of people in France and Germany, 71% in Italy  and 66% of people in Spain say we must find an alternative to the production and consumption of conventional meat.

“It’s great to see plant-based meat become so strongly established in many people’s diets across Europe," said Carlotte Lucas, Corporate Engagement Manager at the Good Food Institute Europe. "Companies now need to capitalize on this interest and invest in the development of products that can truly compete with conventional meat on taste and price to provide the sustainable options Europeans want.

“And with such growing support for cultivated meat, it’s clear there will be a significant market for this food in Europe. Governments need to listen to the views of their citizens and invest in the research and infrastructure needed to ensure cultivated meat can deliver the environmental benefits so many people want to see.”

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