A British Veggie Protein brand recently commissioned a study to determine what Canadians are thinking about and resolving to do around the issue of reducing Meat consumption in favour of Vegetable Protein Substitutes. The answers they got back were partly good news and partly bad…
The Meatless Farm brand commissioned the Angus Reid organization to poll Canadian s on their attitudes and practices toward Vegetable Protein Meat Substitutes. The results represent a kind of two-edged sword.
The Poll results…
Angus Reid polled their permanent ‘Forum’ subject group and came up with the following major findings:
- More than three-quarters (77 percent) of consumers say they are aware of and understand the environmental impact of eating Red Meat
- Seventy-four percent believe it is important to reduce their carbon footprint
- Forty-three percent of Canadians said they would be more likely to switch to a more flexitarian lifestyle – a less strict diet when compared to vegetarian or veganism, that allows for some traditional Real Meat – if they fully comprehended the positive environmental impact they could make by eating more plant-based food.
- Only 38 percent of Canadians say they would consider reducing their Meat consumption in order to do so.
The knowledge gap among the public on the benefits of switching to a Plant-based diet became abundantly clear to The Meatless Farm when they were compiling the data behind their Meatless Consumption Target report for 2020:
- Each Canadian who swaps out just one Beef-based meal for a Plant-based meal each week will reduce their greenhouse gas contribution by five percent each year.
- If the entire country made the once-weekly swap, Canada could reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 30 million tonnes of CO2 – equivalent to taking six million cars off the road.
- This would also reduce agricultural land use by 10 million hectares. The Land could then be used to grow more Plant-based Protein crops to help deed the world’s ballooning population.
“Across geographies, there is misinformation about the ingredient makeup and health impact of Plant-based foods that is clouding consumers’ perceptions of the products,” said Kasper Vesth, North American General Manager of The Meatless Farm. “We recognized this disconnect and saw an opportunity to provide education on the environmental benefits of shifting to a more flexitarian lifestyle, by comparing Red Meat to Plant-based [Protein] across everything from production and energy use to transportation and packaging. We hope this will help consumers to make more informed choices when considering Plant-based foods in the future.”
What did the poll subjects have to say?
The Meatless Farm survey revealed that:
- One-third (33 percent) of consumers are making a resolution to reduce Meat consumption in 2020.
- And 36 percent ‘expect to buy more plant-based products’ in the new year.
What’s holding people back? More than half (56 percent) of those polled have have concerns about eating more Plant-based Protein:
- More than half (58 percent) say they’re concerned about the high level of processing involved in its production.
- Forty-three percent say they fear it won’t taste good.
- Thirty-nine percent says they’re turned off by the higher price point (compared to traditional Red Meat) for currently available Plant-based Meat Substitutes.
“Our expectation is not for all Canadians to switch to an entirely Meat-free diet,” Vesth emphasized. “But [we would like them] to swap one or two Meat meals per week for Plant-based – a change that our research showed Canadians would be willing to consider if there was evidence of health and environmental benefits. We hope that the Meatless Consumption Target helps to provide this education and support [for] Canadians looking to make a lifestyle change.”
I agree that – until the next few generations of us come along and are more accustomed to, and comfortable with Plant-based Proteins – that The Meatless Farm’s flexitarian recommendation could be the way to start swinging us over to more sustainable Plant-based foods. I’m on record as saying I could be a flexitarian. Time to give it try? In spite of prohibitively high prices?
~ Maggie J.