A considerable portion of consumers believe a plant-based world is on the horizon, according to new data released by sustainable food systems non-profit EAT.
Some 42% of those surveyed believe animal-based diets will go ‘extinct’ in the next decade according to the Grains of Truth report, which gathered the views of 30,000 people across 31 global markets and was conducted by the organisation and insights company GlobeScan.
In keeping with this prediction, the number of people who appear interested in vegetarian, flexitarian or vegan diets is also on the rise. More than one in five people (22%) said they eat plant-based food – this is up from 17% in 2019.
Interest in exploring animal-free diets is growing across all age groups: 40% of Gen Z, 43% of Millennials, 37% of Gen X, and 28% of Baby Boomers say they are very interested in trying plant-based eating regimes.
EAT suggests several reasons as to why more consumers than ever are considering a diet without meat or dairy products – of these, it seems care for the environment is a top priority.
Nearly nine in 10 consumers reported that buying environmentally healthy and responsible food was important to them. Additionally, 64% claimed they were willing to pay a premium for food with a low environmental impact.
Commenting on the research, EAT Founder and Executive Chair Dr Gunhild Stordalen said: “The fact that so many people around the world are becoming more interested in eating healthy and sustainable food is an encouraging sign, a few years ago it would be unthinkable that 42 percent of people globally would believe plant-based food will replace meat inside a decade.
“But the public is starting to understand the escalating climate and nature crises and the dangers it brings to their everyday lives.”
Beyond gauging the world’s appetite for plant-based and more environmentally conscious diets, EAT’s research also investigated respondents’ perception of food security and the global food supply chain.
Confidence in the global supply chain is waning, because of the turbulence of the pandemic, climate crisis and Russia-Ukraine war. Around half of people surveyed reported feeling less secure about their food supply – and this figure jumps significantly for more specific areas.
Respondents in South America appeared among the worst off, with 73% of Brazilians, 72% of Colombians and 69% of Peruvians reporting levels of food insecurity. However it was Kenya which had the highest level of people experiencing food insecurity at 77%.
Worries about food supply extended to concerns about food shortages – about 60% of respondents believed this was a very serious problem. In countries like Colombia, Peru, Kenya, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and South Africa, the vast majority of people (eight in 10) are concerned about not being able to access certain foods.
The rising cost of living is compounding the issue. A total of 92% of the public say the price of their regular food shopping has increased in the last three months – exposing worries that even if certain foods don’t experience supply issues, certain consumers will be priced out of buying them anyway.
“While consumers understand the issues, it is up to everyone else in the food system to act now to help them – access and affordability will play a critical role as the first edition of this report showed last year,” said Dr Stordalen, citing the future EAT-Lancet 2.0 report as an opportunity to explore solutions to the issues facing the world’s food system.
“EAT-Lancet 2.0 will help to bring the latest science from different fields together to build consensus on targets for healthy, sustainable, and equitable food systems. This is critical to further bending the key trendlines in the right direction.”
Hear more about how Dr Gunhild Stordalen believes we can change the food system for good in this episode of the Food Matters Live Podcast: