The survey, in which 6,221 consumers from 9 European countries took part, provides insights into current consumer behavior and shows the potential demand for plant-based product alternatives. In addition, it offers stakeholders in the food industry and retailers the opportunity to successfully place new demand-oriented offers on the market and to optimize existing products.
If you take a closer look at the study, you can of course see that the data are not representative: Neither the age distribution of the respondents, the presumed distribution on lifestyles nor the distribution among the participating countries are remotely representative.
The benefit of the study is the mapping of trends and the assignment of consumption preferences among vegetarians and flexitarians, the latter are referred to in the study as meat reducers. Those familiar with the subject will find that the vast majority of trend statements also correspond to their own observations, for example the fact that vegetarian drinks are clearly the leading category in this area. The study also shows the differences in the evaluation of tofu, for example between Germany and France. Likewise, the study with the representation of the current consumption status is largely correct.
It is clear that meat substitutes are basically the leading category after vegetarian drinks. And it is fundamentally correct that vegetarian and vegan ice cream are important newcomers. Margarine, on the other hand, has been on the market for a long time, as have vegetarian baked goods. Here trends and stock mix and it is also clear that today, of course, wherever possible, vegetarian and vegan labels are used much more specifically.
Some of the consumer wishes that were very strongly elaborated in the study are certainly also due to the fact that a target group close to the concerns of the Vegetarian Federation responded in the last one, a good three-quarters of the respondents are more or less vegetarian. The strong emphasis on customer requests for vegetarian cheese or re-formed vegetarian fish is more likely to affect the core target group. In addition, such requests may vary from country to country. A not particularly tasty analog cheese is not a temptation for real lovers of cheese flavor and while the French also pay the corresponding price for really great tasting cheese made from fermented soy, something like this does not set in Germany.
However, it is understandable that flexitarians want more vegetarian ready meals and a selection of good ground beef substitutes. In addition to burger patties and after all vegetarian drinks, this should also be the potential flagship products in this area.
It is certainly understandable that the survey of this target group reveals that one would like a broader range in many vegetarian areas. However, it is precisely in the nature of this target group that they hardly imagine a complete vegetarian offer. And what such studies often forget is the fact that in the end the buying behavior is the decisive yardstick. And here, in addition to the taste, the price and the general convenience in purchasing and using the products are decisive.