Recent consumer surveys have examined attitudes among dairy ditchers, reducers, and individuals considering reducing their intake. Although roughly 52% of UK adults consume dairy milk, nearly half of dairy milk consumers (48%) also incorporate plant based milk in their diet (Ipsos, 2022). A similar number of Brits also intend to reduce their animal-product consumption – 46% (Ipsos, 2022). The most common reasons given for limiting dairy included personal health and animal welfare (Kantar, 2018; Gillison, 2022).
When consumers are asked what prevents them from ditching dairy, a frequently cited barrier is the sensory differences of dairy alternatives, namely, taste (Gillison, 2022). While many plant-based milk consumers have no such objections, this indicates that some regular dairy consumers who decide to purchase more dairy alternatives perceive the added benefits of plant-based milk in terms of animal welfare, the environment or personal health to outweigh perceived tradeoffs such as taste.
Research indicates that many individuals are interested in reducing their meat consumption and increasing their consumption of alternative proteins. For instance, global consumer research from Credit Suisse revealed that around 65% of UK consumers intend to spend more money on plant-based meat products (Credit-Suisse, 2022).
With regards to meat reduction intentions, flexitarians make up roughly 23% of UK consumers and 30% of Europeans, accounting for nearly half of consumers of plant-based meat (Smart Protein Project, 2021). According to a survey from YouGov, 68% of ‘flexitarians’ in the UK are actively trying to improve their current efforts to reduce their meat consumption (YouGov, 2021).
Collectively, these insights show that a significant portion of the public intend to allocate more of their grocery bill to plant-based products (Credit Suisse, 2022). Although flexitarians still make up a minority of consumers in the UK (23%), they account for a significant share of the alternative protein market (Stannard, 2022), indicating that displacement can be attributed to this growing group of reducers.
Survey data suggests that flexitarians and reducitarians have steadily been on the rise (Smart Protein Project, 2021). Although meat eaters continue to account for the majority of UK diets, flexitarians have been growing in numbers since the pandemic (AHDB/ YouGov, 2022). In tandem, overall meat consumption has dropped nearly 17% from 2008-2019 (Stewart et al., 2021). Clearly, significant portions of the public make conscientious efforts to reduce their meat intake and many identify as reducetarian or flexitarian.