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Younger Canadians feeding growth of plant-based meat substitutes

While mock meat may be mocked in certain culinary circles, products such as the Beyond Burger have certainly performed beyond their parent company’s business expectations as younger, urban consumers in Canada search for plant-based proteins to tempt their taste buds and conquer their hunger pangs.

And while most Canadians have heard about such products, the majority have yet to sample them: a new study from the Angus Reid Institute finds nearly all Canadians are familiar with plant-based meat alternatives (95%), but only four-in-ten (39%) have actually tried them.

And although 45 per cent of Canadians are inclined to feel the plant-based protein trend is more of a fad than a new normal, the younger generation is embracing the presence of plant-based proteins on their plates.

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Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 are considerably more likely than their older peers to have tried these products (58% have), to say they will if they haven’t already (48% plan to), and to say that the movement is here to stay (70% say this).

If this trend does indeed have staying power, will the growth in plant-based alternatives harm Canada’s meat industry? Canadians are more optimistic than pessimistic about what this phenomenon will mean for the country.

One-in-three (35%) say Canada will benefit from the demand for more peas, lentils and beans – all key ingredients in vegan meat substitutes – while one-in-five (21%) say the domestic economy will be harmed due to potentially lower demand for meat. Alberta, the hub of Canada’s beef industry, has the highest proportion of residents saying the impact on the country will be negative (35%), while those in Saskatchewan, the world’s largest lentil exporter, are divided equally (35% positive, 32% negative).

More Key Findings:

  • Among Canadians who regularly eat meat, one-in-five (22%) say they would like to reduce the amount they eat, while one-in-ten (10%) say they’d actually like to consume more meat. Most (68%) from this group say they’re satisfied with their current meat intake and don’t plan to change their eating habits.
  • The portion of Canadians saying they would like to cut back on meat rises to four-in-ten among those between the ages of 18 and 34 (39%)
  • While those who have tried plant-based meats generally say they enjoyed the taste (80% respond positively), they remain divided on whether or not such products are financially worthwhile – 41 per cent said the value for their money was poor or terrible

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