The French research company OpinionWay he led an investigation on meat consumption on behalf of the Good Food Institute (GFI), interviewing more than 4.000 adults in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Participants provided information on their consumption, purchasing habits and motivations and expressed their opinion on plant-based meat substitutes.
The striking responses show that almost 60% of respondents (57% on average) have reduced their consumption of meat in the last five years.
Furthermore, an average of 23% of the respondents stopped eating them.
What is cutting down on meat consumption?
Environmental concerns, animal welfare and health are the most cited reasons for Europeans to cut back on meat consumption.
Germany has prioritized animal welfare: the 38% of participants stated that this is the motivation for them to become more vegetarians. A figure in line with the premises: 41% of Germans also eat vegan alternatives every month.
Both Italy and Spain have put personal health at the top of the list of reasons to eat less meat. 50% of Italian consumers and 47% of Spanish consumers choose vegetable proteins every month.
The French (39%) seem the most concerned about the cost of animal meat. Only one in four French consumers (27%) consumes vegan substitutes every month.
Apart from the various reasons, all of them presented a constant undercurrent: the protection of the environment.
How meat contributes to the climate crisis
Increasingly intensive farming is one of the key factors in the climate emergency. The major cause of global deforestation is meat production. Hectares and hectares of woods that have been cut down or burned to make way for pastures or cultivation of plants for animal consumption.
Fewer trees equals less carbon. And therefore more emissions.
The breeding of animals for the production of meat and dairy products it is responsible for at least 14,5% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Meat, specifically, is responsible for nearly 60% of all greenhouse gas emissions from food production.
The most sensitive to the problem? The Italians, with over 75% of those interviewed that it is hoped to reduce the consumption of meat.
Cultured meat: a possible compromise?
Far be it from me to feast on insects (he is stronger than me, I doubt I can do it), I believe cultured meat an option that respects the climate, animals and consumers too.
I have been talking about it for some time with editorials, news, interviews with activists and insiders: if on a regulatory level only Singapore has already approved its use (in Europe it will arrive in mid-2024), on the practical level the real key is public opinion.
And this, at least in Europe, is still fragmented. Over 50% of respondents have already heard of it, but not everyone knows what the consumption of cultured meat is. At the two extremes, Spain (68% of participants are in favor) and France (just 38%).