CivicScience | Meatless Burgers Have Strong Appeal, Even Among Occasional Meat-Eaters

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Meatless Burgers Have Strong Appeal, Even Among Occasional Meat-Eaters

Image Credit: Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

In recent years, plant-based meats have taken the food world by storm, with companies attempting to perfect the taste and texture of animal products, without the use of any animal byproducts. CivicScience has asked U.S. adults about their experiences with plant-based meats in the past, but with a new year underway, the pulse of plant-based meat purchases was worth a review. 

As the data show, 16% of respondents surveyed in the past month have bought and liked plant-based meats.

And experience buying plant-based meat hasn’t changed much in the last year.

So who is enjoying plant-based meats? 

Americans between 25 and 34 lead the way in buying these products, while 18- to 24-year-olds have the greatest intent to try them.

Enjoyment of plant-based meat is somewhat linked to income. Although high-income earners have the highest rate of trying and liking these meat-alternatives, the difference between the three income brackets studied is slim. Low-income earners demonstrate similar levels of intent as respondents in different income brackets. This suggests that price may not be a deterrent for those interested in animal-free meal options. 

However, there is perhaps a clearer difference in interest by gender. Women are more likely than men to have tried and liked plant-based meats. Men are more likely to have no interest. 

And when it comes to shopping for groceries, specialty co-op shoppers are the most likely to have tried and liked plant-based meat, while intent comes mostly from people who prefer small, local, independent grocers. 

There is also a correlation between those who enjoy plant-based meats and frequent exercise, suggesting that health may be one of the driving factors behind consumers’ interest in this growing market. 

A Tale of Two Burgers 

In the world of plant-based meats, two burgers stand out from the rest: the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger. These burgers debuted at roughly the same time, and are sold around the same price point. So how are these meatless burger giants faring in 2021?

When it comes to favorability, they’re nearly tied. The Impossible Burger has 22% favorability, while the Beyond Burger has 21%.

In both cases, the people who are trying and liking these burgers aren’t largely vegan; instead, they are vegetarian or omnivores. That said, the Beyond Meat burger does have slightly higher favorability amongst both vegetarians and low meat eaters. 

While vegetarians and vegans are the most likely to have purchased plant-based meat in stores, intent is extremely high among those who eat meat at some frequency. 

With 2021 underway, plant-based meats are here to stay. Given the solid 16% of U.S. adults enjoying these products–many of whom are not just vegan or vegetarian–it’s clear that these products carry an appeal that extends beyond any one diet, but rather speaks to the interests and concerns of a diverse group of eaters.

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