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Meat substitutes not making the grade

Survey says products still lack indulgence, convenience


London, U.K. – Global market research company the Mintel Group claims that 40 per cent of consumers are turning away from products marketed as meat-free, or as meat alternatives, due to the fact they are “bland” or “not enjoyable.”

That’s the finding of a new U.K. survey the company says reflects the global market.

The answer, says Mintel, is to focus on indulgence and convenience, as well as health. “Focusing on health enrichment has helped to expand the category and get the attention of health-focused meat eaters,” says David Jago, director of Innovation and Insight at Mintel, in an interview with Foodnavigator.com. “Having established a health-based proposition there is now an opportunity for the category to further explore enjoyment and indulgence to attract and entrench both meat eaters and vegetarians.”

Jago says offering additional products designed for convenience – including frozen and microwaveable meals – should also be a priority.

That may mean changing the way meat substitutes are marketed. The survey found that the most popular claims for foods featuring meat substitutes, in descending order, are: vegetarian; organic; eco-friendly; no additives or preservatives; no animal ingredients; animal welfare claims; free-from genetic modification; ease of use; high protein; and microwaveable.