Get our best content directly in your inbox
Sign up
Food trends

Flexitarian diets on the up in the US, but meat consumption is on the increase, survey shows

young woman with glasses smiling
2 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
fried chicken

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.

Download Food Matters Live’s free Sustainability Digest


Related content