Millennials are the driving force behind the global shift away from the meat sector, according to new a report.

The report by analysis and data company GlobalData examined the movement around the world that’s seen less people eating meat, with 70 per cent of the global population reportedly either reducing meat consumption or leaving meat off the table altogether.

Fiona Dyer, consumer analyst at GlobalData, explained that the “shift toward plant-based foods” is mainly being “driven by millennials”, who are most likely to consider the food source, animal welfare issues, and environmental impacts when making their purchasing decisions.

According to the company, firms such as Bol Foods – who announced their relaunch as meat-free brand earlier this year – are reaping the benefits of the rise in flexitarianism, vegetarianism and veganism.

In 2017, flexitarianism and the growth of partially meat-free diets was attributed as the main reason for sales growth at UK-based food group, Quorn Foods.

The company, which makes foods such as burgers and sausages out of fungus, reported a 19 per cent rise in sales in the first half of 2017.

They are confident that the younger generation are fuelling this trend and that it represents a genuine long-term move towards a healthier and more sustainable relationship with food.

This meat-free lifestyle movement, which has witnessed rising concern among consumers that meat production damages the environment, has led to changes not only for retail companies but also meat producers with Meat & Livestock Australia asserting its belief that Australia’s red meat processors could become carbon neutral by 2030.

The body claims that it reduced its share of Australia’s total emissions from 20 per cent in 2005 to 13 per cent by 2015 and will continue this trend through measures such as the expanded use of legumes and dung beetles in pastures, genetic selection and potentially a vaccine which could reduce methane production in the rumen.

Dyer added: “Whilst its efforts are not wholly altruistic or driven by a desire to save the planet – the potential for exporting its beef would grow exponentially if the carbon neutral goal was achieved – it may nonetheless prove to be a turning point.”

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