Only 3% of consumers choosing a plant-based diet are “eco-warriers”, solely motivated by animal welfare, environmental concerns and health benefits.
The vast majority of plant-based consumers fall into four categories: the “healthy hardcores”, whose focus is primarily health; the “value hunters”, who are mainly students and are seeking foods with a longer shelf-life than meat; the “flavour cravers”, who are exploring new flavours; and the “trendy trailists”, dedicated followers of fashion looking for new and different experiences.
The findings, presented at the 11th European edition of the Sustainable Food Summit in Amsterdam and reported by Foodnavigator, are from research conducted by Swiss flavour and fragrance manufacturer Givaudin.
“The good news is that there is more than one vegan consumer type,” said Thomas Ullram, the firm’s innovation director. “The bad news is that if you’re a marketer you now need to start thinking about which one you need to attract to your brand.”
Ullram said the different consumer groups have different preferences and tastes, for both the food and the packaging.
A Lighstpeed survey conducted at the end of January found that just 3% of respondents said they were vegan, with 79% still categorising themselves as “meat-eaters”.
However, there is plenty of evidence that a semi-vegan lifestyle is on the rise. As a Kantar blog noted in February: “A total of 4.4 billion meat-free dinners were consumed in 2018, an increase of 150m meals on the year before. Plant-based meal occasions have grown 37% in the last four years and are now eaten by 10% of the population. These consumers are also very engaged with the lifestyle and are choosing to eat a plant-based meals three times a week, on average.”