Why Consumers are Reaching for Meatless Meat
The U.S. retail plant-based meat category is now worth over $800 million and showing steady growth, reports the Plant Based Foods Association.1 Meatless meat is driving the growth in the retail packaged meat category—with sales up 37 percent from 2018 to 2019—compared to 2 percent for conventional meat.
So what’s driving this interest in meatless meat? A variety of factors are at play. Some consumers are looking for a healthier alternative to meat, while others have concerns over the impact of meat on environmental sustainability or animal welfare. For many consumers, the motivation to purchase plant-based proteins (whether meat or dairy alternatives) is simply the desire to try new foods.
Generational and Micro-Generational Preferences
According to The NPD Group, Millennials are the top consumers of plant-based meat.2 While plant-based meat resonates with Millennials on many levels, manufacturers can gain a deeper understanding of their purchase drivers by looking at Millennial micro-generations. Every generation can be broken down further into micro-generations—each with its own influences, preferences, and behaviors.
For example, Mid-Millenials (ages 26 to 31) are globally oriented, while Nouveau Millennials (ages 21 to 25) crave personalization. Meatless meat incorporated into global dishes, such as Chinese stir fry or Indian curry, is a way to appeal directly to Mid-Millennials.