The meat industry is seeing a new trend among the Millennial generation, requiring it to take notice. Over the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of Millennials moving away from eating meat to a plant-based diet.
This is leading companies to create plant-based meat substitutes that are more appealing to Millennials who want to steer clear of eating meat. Globally, 70% of the world is either reducing the amount of meat consumed or eliminating it altogether according to a report by GlobalData.
Millennials are the main driving force in leading the shift to a plant-based diet. The Millennial generation tends to be more concerned about the sourcing of their food, proper animal treatment and what kind of impact their food choices have on the environment. These factors contribute heavily to food purchasing decisions.
Why Millennials are Choosing Plant-Based Foods Over Meat
Millennials are certainly not the only generation choosing to reduce or eliminate their meat consumption, but they are the largest force in this change.
With consumers in search of more meat-free options, companies are seeing a spike in sales growth by making veggie-based burgers and sausages. Meat-free companies such as UK-based Quorn believe that the Millennial generation is driving sales as they are in constant pursuit of healthier options. In the first part of 2017, Quorn saw a 19% increase in sales mostly attributing to this younger generation.
The change in consumer preferences is guided by Millennials wanting to know where their beef or protein is coming from. They want to make sure that what they consume isn’t having a negative impact on the environment and that they can feel good about consuming said food. It is important to Millennials to be sure that the animals they eat are treated humanely.
Millennials Search for Meat-Free Options
According to the report by GlobalData, there is a sharp increase in the number of people who are choosing to go vegan, equating to a surprising 600% increase of vegans over the past 3 years. The spike in Millennials looking for meat-free options has caused retailers such as Walmart to offer more plant-based items.
A new product that might be a solution to offering a meat-free option is “lab-grown meat”. The appeal of lab-grown meat is that it tackles concerns around the harmful effects on the environment and meets the needs of Millennials looking for animal-free food options.
Many start-ups plan to launch their lab-grown meat products within the next four years. The challenge will be making it cost-effective enough for Millenials to completely ditch real meat.
The Impact Millennials will have by Eating a Plant-Based Diet
Millennials are taking notice of the health risks that eating a diet high in meat can have on their bodies. Once the World Health Organization (WHO) connected elevated cancer risks with eating a diet of processed meats such as ham and bacon, it didn’t take long for people to consider their food intake options with a little more scrutiny.
Since the WHO came out with the data correlation between processed meats and cancer, the American Institute for Cancer Research has encouraged people to focus on a more plant-based diet to combat various health risks. The benefits of reducing meat consumption will have a huge global impact, saving millions of lives per year and an estimated $31 trillion in healthcare and environmental costs over the next 30 years.
Moving forward, Millennials will drive the trend of eating a more plant-based diet and making plant-based foods as popular as eating organic. This may pose a challenge for the meat industry. They will need to offer more humane and sustainably-raised animal products, and come out with their own meat-free options to stay relevant with Millennials.