Consumers Prefer “Meat-Free” To Vegetarian
Industry analysts in the England-based trade magazine The Grocer claim that the term “vegetarian” has negative connotations and revives imagery of sub-standard soy products from the 1970s, and that replacing this term with “meat-free” on packaging and in marketing campaigns is driving new interest in this food segment.
Research conducted by the private label supplier Tivall UK found that consumers felt the category “vegetarian” was polarizing and often had negative connotations left over from memories of the 1970s. “Meat-free” is a term that did not put off vegetarians, but also seemed to appeal to non-vegetarian consumers. The UK vegetarian food market is estimated at £254 million, with a 5.5% increase in value in 2007 over the previous year.
Manufacturers are expanding their product lines, with almost one-third of sales attributed to new items. Much of the new growth is reportedly driven by new consumers to the vegetarian foods segment.
40% of British households bought meat-free meals in 2007, up slightly from 38% the previous year. Manufacturers are concentrating on consumers identified as “meat reducers,” who are reducing consumption due to environmental, ethical, and health concerns.
The principal growth in the meat-free sector was attributed to vegetarian ingredients, including meat substitutes and mince, which increased in value by 12%. Snacks are also identified as a growing sector.