Flexitarian diets on the up in the US, but meat consumption is on the increase, survey shows
North Americans are eating more protein from whole-plant sources, with flexitarian diets on the up, but meat consumption is still high in the country, a new survey from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) reveals.
According to the report, nearly 30% of Americans said they had consumed more protein from whole-plant sources in the last 12 months. Some 23% and 32% of respondents also reported to be eating less dairy and red meat respectively.
Around 6% of people said they followed flexitarian diets in the last year, while 5% said they followed a ‘low-carbon footprint/sustainable diet’. 8% of those surveyed said their diets were vegan, vegetarian or plant-based – a figure which has remained steady in recent years.
While more Americans appear to be reducing their beef consumption, or picking foods with a lower environmental impact, 40% said they never consume plant-based meat and seafood alternatives.
The IFIC survey also shows many US consumers are still eating meat, with over a quarter saying they eat more poultry now compared with last year.
Eating with the climate in mind is not a priority for US consumers. 43% said the ‘climate friendliness’ of food has not had ‘much of’ or ‘any’ impact on their purchasing decisions, while 35% said it did. Around 16% reported that they hadn’t thought about climate friendliness when purchasing food, and the remaining 7% weren’t familiar with the meaning of the term. Just 12% of survey respondents also said that eating ‘in a way that would be good for the environment’ motivated them to follow a particular diet.
High food prices appear to be the main barrier preventing consumers from eating more eco-friendly products, according to the IFIC. Just 16% of people would pick the most eco-friendly option, which is also the most expensive. Nearly half prefer the second-most sustainable and slightly cheaper option, while 36% would choose the least expensive product with the highest environmental impact.