Lack of Product Choices Leaves Vegetarians, Vegans Unsatisfied
Almost half (46 percent) of vegans and a quarter (23 percent) of vegetarians noted that they were dissatisfied with the choice of food and beverage products available, according to new research from Ingredient Communications, a specialist PR agency. The U.K.-based agency commissioned market researcher Surveygoo to conduct an online survey of 1,000 consumers (500 from the United States and 500 from the United Kingdom).
Of those surveyed, 4 percent overall indicated that they were vegan (6 percent in the United States, and 13 percent for those age 18-24), 4 percent were vegetarian and 3 percent described themselves as pescatarian. The survey also found that 60 percent of vegetarians overall were considering becoming vegan, with 90 percent of U.S. vegetarians surveyed considering the switch and only one-third in the United Kingdom. For the meat-eaters surveyed, 42 percent intend to reduce or eliminate their meat consumption.
As for what’s fueling dietary choices, 69 percent of vegans and 64 percent of vegetarians noted animal welfare. The second most common reason was health, cited by 47 percent of vegans and 54 percent of vegetarians.
“Our research indicates the scale and pace of the shift towards vegetable-based diets," noted Richard Clarke, founder and managing director of Ingredient Communications. "Whatever the reason for their choices – ethical, environmental or health-related ― many consumers expect the food industry to do more to keep up with them. For manufacturers of both finished products and ingredients, it’s clear that there are rewards for putting greater focus on the needs of vegans and vegetarians."
Happiness with product selections was higher in the United States than in the United Kingdom. Among the vegans surveyed, 50 percent in the United States expressed dissatisfaction with the products they could choose from, while only one-third in the United Kingdom were unhappy. When it came to vegetarian product options, 31 percent of Americans noted dissatisfaction, compared with 15 percent in the United Kingdom.
“The merger of two related tracks are likely to be contributing to these trends,” said Dr. Mark JS Miller, principal of Kaiviti Consulting. “One is the trend of expected convenience, where 'I can get what I want when I want it,' which has been fueled by the Amazon phenomenon. The other trend is the desire for personalized health choices. Neither trend is likely to abate, and so this level of dissatisfaction amongst American vegans and vegetarians is likely to continue until the market is nimble enough to adjust to the demands.”