For most non-vegetarian food lovers, eating meat is about having the freedom to taste and devour different delicacies. Moreover, given the zingy, tangy and lip-smacking taste, flavour and texture of meat products, non-vegetarians often find plant-based or vegetarian food bland. Having said that, over the last few years, there has been a significant transformation in consumer behaviour. Unlike Baby Boomers or Generation X, millennials and centennials are becoming more conscious about what they consume, wear, buy and follow.
From selecting organic and naturally grown herbs and spices to wearing chemical and cruelty-free perfumes, customers nowadays deliberately buy things that have no negative repercussions on the environment. One of the most prominent examples of this drastically changing consumer behaviour is the rising popularity of plant-based meat. In fact, given the current sales and profit status of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives and the rising demand for sustainable products, a Bloomberg Intelligence report has suggested that this growth will flourish fivefold by 2030.
Against this backdrop, here we have listed a few key reasons why plant-based meat is gaining rapid acceptance among modern-age consumers:
Environmental concerns and animal-cruelty
Open social media anytime, and you’ll find tons of videos about people loving all kinds of animals. And while animal love may be nothing more than a marketing gimmick for some people, a large section of modern society takes animal cruelty seriously. This is one of the biggest reasons why many millennials and Gen Z people opt for vegan or vegetarian instead of eating animal-based meat. Because, after all, why preach when you can’t follow?
Similarly, the rising awareness and concerns surrounding climate change, excessive greenhouse gas emissions, depletion of the ozone layer, deforestation, water crisis and global warming have made even common people conscious about their significant contribution to the growing carbon footprint. In contrast, by replacing animal-based meat with greener alternatives (plant-based meat products), customers are addressing this challenge while also making healthier choices.
Weighing health-related pros and cons
While it is true that meat is a potent medium of high protein, Vitamin B12, Zinc and other nutritional elements, it is also linked with several health-related concerns like High Cholesterol, Diabetes, Heart Diseases, Obesity and even Cancer. In addition, in the last few years, time and again, the world has suffered from animal-based virus outbreaks like Swine Flu and Bird Flu. Needless to say, eating animal-based meat is no longer a safe medium to get your daily dose of protein and vitamins.
However, what if there’s an alternate source? A greener, more sustainable, chemical-free and plant-based alternative that can provide the same health benefits minus negative aspects (like high cholesterol), won’t that be a cherry on the cake? This is exactly why plant-based meat has made a home in the hearts of many food lovers. By shifting to a plant-based meat diet, people can fulfil their daily nutritional intake without worrying about any side effects like the triggering of a lifestyle disorder or life-threatening disease.
Eliminating all social and ethical barriers and constraints
Animal-based meat has constantly been subjected to social and ethical scrutiny. Non-vegetarian food lovers have always dealt with the conundrum of whether to eat or not because of religious, social and moral reasons. Some people avoid eating meat on Tuesdays, Thursdays and even Saturdays because of family pressure or religious beliefs. Some people half-heartedly stopped eating meat because of ethical reasons.
But, these barriers and constraints are not always iron-clad. Many times, non-vegetarian lovers end up eating meat that is followed by humongous guilt. However, the guilt and the conundrum are out of the question with plant-based meat. Plant-based meat allows people to have their favourite cuisines any time or any day of the week without feeling guilty about cheating their values and ethics.
Plant-based meat is here to stay
The aforementioned points vehemently support the statement that plant-based meat is here to stay. And why not? It is good for the environment and consumers’ health. Moreover, it is obviously a straightforward method to keep the natural balance intact.
However, accepting a plant-based meat diet is not as easy as it sounds. For hard-core meat lovers, it is often challenging to forget the taste and texture of juicy and meaty products. As a result, they are often scared of relapsing to a meat-filled diet or resenting everyone stopping them from having their favourite non-vegetarian dish. “Just one bowl of Butter Chicken, and that’s it.”
To cater to such meat fans, leading foodtech companies are bringing truly natural and vegetarian mock meat or plant-based meat products. The advent of new-age technologies and innovation in the food industry has made it possible for plant-based meat products to reach the masses. Simply put, today, food lovers don’t have to compromise or miss out on their favourite cookeries. Instead, they can just reduce the amount of animal-based meat in their diet by replacing it with plant-based meat.
Don’t give up on traditional meat if it makes you unhappy or frustrated. Have it 20% of the time, but use plant-based meat products as superior alternatives the rest of the time. This will provide foodies with a healthy, sustainable, planet-friendly mind-set and approach to revel in the infinite world of food.
Sohil Wazir, CCO, Blue Tribe
(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETHealthworld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person / organisation directly or indirectly.)