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Consumers seek more environmental impact information on plant-based foods | 2020-02-14

Consumers seek more environmental impact information on plant-based foods | 2020-02-14
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WASHINGTON — Information may be a bigger barrier to adopting plant-based foods than taste, according to a national survey by the Yale Program on Climate Change and the Earth Day Network.

Approximately 55% of Americans said they are willing to eat more plant-based meat alternatives, and 54% said they are willing to cut back on red meat consumption. A little less than half said they would consider using dairy alternatives, and about a quarter said they would eat lab-grown meat.

The majority of respondents said they would eat more plant-based foods if they had more information about the environmental impact of their food choices. Around 70% said they rarely or never talk about this issue with family or friends. Nearly two-thirds reported never having been asked to eat more plant-based foods.

A little less than 30% said they never hear about the environmental impact of different foods, compared to 16% who said they hear about the issue at least once a month. Two out of every three consumers surveyed said they never look for information about sustainable food.

“Many American consumers are interested in eating a more healthy and climate-friendly diet,” said Anthony Leiserowitz,a researcher at the Yale Program on Climate Change. “However, many simply don’t know yet which products are better or worse — a huge communication opportunity for food producers, distributors and sellers.”

The survey also found 1 in 5 Americans use plant-based dairy alternatives 2 to 5 times a week, while 1 in 10 regularly use meat alternatives.

Cost and convenience were other barriers to adoption. While close to 60% said plant-based alternatives are too expensive, 63% said they would eat plant-based over animal-based foods if plant-based cost less. About half of consumers said they think a meal with a plant-based main course is more expensive than a meal with a meat-based main course.

Taste was not an issue for most consumers. The majority (66%) said they don’t mind the taste of plant-based foods, though the same amount said they would eat more plant-based products if taste further improved.

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