High awareness, but low trial of plant-based foods

Angus Reid finds that while 95% of Canadians are aware of meat alternatives, only 39% have actually tried them.
Tim Hortons-Tim Hortons- to add 100- Plant-Based Beyond Meat- Br

The vast majority (95%) of Canadians are aware of plant-based meat alternatives, but only 39% have actually tried brands like Beyond Meat, according to a new survey from the Angus Reid Institute.  

The Vancouver-based, non-profit research foundation conducted an online survey from July 24-27 of 1,530 Canadian adults and found that despite high awareness among the public, Canadians are pretty much split on the longevity of plant-based meat alternatives, which has snagged significant mainstream press attention in recent years. Of those surveyed, 45% said they think plant-based meat alternatives are a fad that will fade with time, while 55% think it’s a trend that’s here to stay, predicting that Canadians will “be eating more and more” in the years to come.

The high awareness is likely largely thanks to L.A.-based Beyond Meat’s partnerships with well-established brands, such as A&W Canada, Tim Hortons and most recently Subway. Beyond Meat has also made inroads at grocery stores this year including several store banners owned by Canada’s largest grocer, Loblaw Companies.

Tasting is believing and among the surveyed Canadians who have tried plant-based meat alternatives, 80% say they liked or even loved the taste. But another barrier, price, is still a factor: 59% say they were satisfied with the value for money as these alternatives tend to be pricier than the meat versions, notes the Angus Reid Institute.  

Public interest in products like the Beyond Meat Burger and rival Impossible Burger, which is not currently available in Canada, is driven by concerns about the environment/climate change (31%), followed by concerns around health/diseases (21%) among those surveyed. Though health experts caution the jury is still out on the purported health benefits.

The survey also found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that younger Canadians between the ages of 18 to 34 have tried plant-based meat alternatives (58%) and among those Gen Zers and millennials who haven’t, 48% say they plan to try these alternatives. Most (70%) of this younger demographic are also more likely to believe this is a long-term trend and not a fad.

Main image: Tim Hortons added a range of plant-based meat alternatives from Beyond Meat to its menus in May.