Third of New Zealanders eliminate or cut down on eating meat - research

3:45 pm on 29 October 2019

A third of New Zealanders are cutting down on their meat consumption or not eating any at all, new research shows.

Packaged meat in the supermarket. (file)

Photo: 123rf

The survey of more than 1000 people found that 31 percent have been limiting their meat intake over the past year, with a further 3 percent being vegetarian or vegan.

Health was cited as the most common reason people were cutting down on meat, followed by concern for the environment and animal welfare.

The research says there's been an 18 percent increase in those who eat meat four times or less a week - believed to be led by Generation X.

Whereas, those reducing their meat intake are most likely to be baby boomers, the research says.

Some of the survey respondents named taste, nutrition and price as barriers to trying plant-based meat alternatives.

Life Health Foods international marketing manager Mark Roper said that understanding what consumers were looking for and concerned about in plant-based foods should be noted by suppliers.

"It's clear that food businesses must do more to ensure that consumers' nutritional expectations are met, such as protein content and key micronutrients, and the benefits are communicated - especially considering plant-based meat products often contain more protein, less saturated fat, no cholesterol and the added benefit of fibre."

Despite plant-based meat alternatives evolving from traditional options, the research says only a fifth of New Zealanders have tried this 'new generation' of foods. And a further 44 percent expressed they'd like to try them, including nearly half of those reducing their meat intake.

The survey was conducted by Colmar Brunton for plant-based protein advocates Food Frontier, and vegetarian food manufacturer Life Health Foods.

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