More people are switching to plant-based diets

Recently, with increased environmental awareness, many people prefer to reduce or completely remove animal products from their nutrition plan. Indeed, you may have noticed that there are more comprehensive options in the menus offered in the common aisles and restaurants. So, have you ever heard of the term Plant-Based Diet? 

A holistic plant-based diet is a diet in which processed and animal foods are limited or not consumed at all. The basis of this type of nutrition is fresh vegetables, fruits, unrefined grains, oilseeds, and legumes as a vegetable protein source.

The only difference between a plant-based diet and veganism is not the limited consumption of animal resources. Limiting processed foods and packaged foods in the plant-based diet plan is also recommended. Processed foods can be found among vegan-based foods, and this is where the plant-based diet differs from veganism. For example, some meat products may be produced vegan, but because such foods are processed, they do not fit the definition of a plant-based diet. Although these two diets are fundamentally different, they certainly have similarities. When properly planned, they positively affect both health and our environment. 

According to a new Euromonitor report, more than 50% of meat consumption has been reducing increasingly. The report underlines that more local and smaller brands are likely to diversify their plant-based offerings and launch new menus regarding the increasing demand worldwide. The report stated that “given the low availability of vegan options in these categories, it is expected that more manufacturers will jump into these spaces in the coming years.” 

The report also shows a clear generational pattern concerning plant-based diets since many people who practice plant-based diets are from Gen Z. Therefore, it can be said that younger generations tend to reduce their meat and dairy consumption in comparison with the older generations. According to the research conducted for the report, 54% of Gen Zs are trying to avoid meat and animal-based products. On the other hand, only 34% of baby boomers do the same. 

As shown in the report, Australian customers are considered the most flexitarian ones: Almost 50% of them are following plant-based diets, and more than 45% are practicing the restriction of products that contain animal-based ingredients. These elements are the main reasons that contributed to the exponential growth of the Australian plant-based industry, without a doubt.  

Artwork by Katharina Schoenefeld

“The term ‘plant-based’ can be perceived as a more inclusive and appealing term. It aligns with the societal discourse of following lifestyles that reduce animal-based products but do not necessarily eliminate them completely from the diet. Moving forward, claims more aligned with flexitarian lifestyles, like plant-based, are expected to flourish, and the U.S. is leading that trend, mainly in the meat substitutes category,” says Maria Mascaraque, Euromonitor Industry Manager of Food and Nutrition. 

Researchers of the Report shared their insights regarding the product branding and marketing strategies for both plant-based brands and producers: There are noticeable regional differences in avoiding animal-based products amongst the consumers. For example, there is a growing vegan market in Western European countries and North America compared to the other countries in the world. 

On the other hand, consumers from the Asia-Pacific area mostly choose vegetarian and packaged food products. Unfortunately, overconsumption of packaged food products triggers plastic pollution. Therefore, products without biodegradable options pollute the environment, even they are plant-based. Accordingly, zero-waste, biodegradable, and homemade solutions should be considered to prevent more disasters due to increasing pollution consequences. 

Of course, it may not be easy for everyone to switch to a plant-based diet and veganism suddenly. However, you can start this journey by trying new vegetarian recipes and choosing a plant-based diet a few days a week. At this point, with such small steps, you can contribute to improving your health and the protection of nature and the environment. 

Bon Appétit!

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Deniz Saygi
Deniz Saygi

Deniz has been working related to the fields
of Climate Diplomacy, environmental policies, the rights of the indigenous
peoples, sustainable development, and circular economy. She has a specific
interest in the relationship between climate change and indigenous culture,
palaeontological roots of climate change, intersectional environmentalism,
and climate migration. Deniz currently is selected as the Max Thabiso
Edkins Climate Ambassador for the Global Climate Youth Network launched
by the World Bank Group.

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