It seems the move away from meat is not only happening in Europe and the U.S., but also in Asia Pacific. As many as two in five (39%) urban Indonesians and one in three (34%) urban Thais consumed more non-animal sources of protein (e.g. plant, dairy, grains) in 2017, compared to the previous year, reveals new research from Mintel.
New technologies are redefining how we create and use food and drink. The world is changing and food scientists have a big role to play in the future of food. Companies and brands should be looking across industries for inspiration and opportunities for collaboration with scientists and food engineers.
While still in the early stages, this trend has infiltrated meat-loving Australia, as well. Figures show 16% of urban Australians said they avoided or intended to avoid red meat in 2017, while one in five (19%) consumed more non-animal sources of protein. Of those who avoided or planned to avoid red meat, half (51%) said that they believe it was healthier if they did so, according to Mintel.
“Traditional agriculture is unable to meet the protein needs of the world,” says Michelle Teodoro, global food science and nutrition analyst at Mintel. “The current levels of demand for meat supplies globally, and the relative growth of meat production on this scale, will have a significant, negative impact on the environment.”
Food scientists play big role
At the same time, more and more consumers are moving away from meat and looking towards alternative sources of protein instead, offering some relief and creating new opportunities in the global consumer marketplace, Teodoro adds.
“Pressure on the natural environment is forcing consumers and companies to rethink what they take and make,” Teodoro explains.
Meanwhile, new technologies are redefining how we create and use food and drink. While developments that engineer rather than harvest food and drink staples, such as laboratory-grown meat, have grabbed headlines, the resulting products are still years away from mass commercial availability. This showcases the potential for more innovative, sustainable and alternative protein sources. The world is changing and food scientists have a big role to play in the future of food. Companies and brands should be looking across industries for inspiration and opportunities for collaboration with scientists and food engineers, she says.
Mintel research shows that one in four (24%) urban Indonesians planned to follow a plant-based/vegetarian diet in 2017, while 61% of urban Thais and over half (54%) of urban Australians planned to eat more vegetables/fruits. Furthermore, nutritious or health-related reasons (56%) are the top factor influencing urban Thai consumers when choosing food or drink products to buy.
“With high animal protein intake associated with health concerns, any reduction in consumption will have positive health outcomes,” Teodoro explains.
Less reliance on factory-farmed animals
Today’s consumers are also starting to include more vegetables and fruits in their diets, or adopting plant-based or vegetarian diets, given the numerous health benefits that come along with them. Along with a shift to plant and lab-based proteins, the world’s reliance on factory-farmed animals will also be reduced — contributing to animal welfare globally, Teodoro says.
The firm states this is all reflected in Mintel Trend ‘Hungry Planet’ which discusses how consumer purchasing decisions are being influenced by issues surrounding sustainability and ethics, as well as Mintel Trend ‘Bannedwagon’ which details how consumers are focusing on ingredients and production methods, embracing once-niche ways of living and eating.
“Moving forward, we will see aspects of environmentalism penetrate various lifestyle goals,” says Delon Wang, trends manager, Asia Pacific, at Mintel. “With the mantra ‘you are what you eat’ top of mind today, consumers are assessing their lifestyle, everyday purchases and surroundings. Additionally, the idea of inclusivity and accepting niche lifestyles of global consumers has popularized, to a certain extent. We are seeing more understanding about unique diets and living habits, creating new guidelines to live as the benefits are exhorted.”