Even with the growing availability of meat alternatives, many Americans are reducing rather completely eliminating their consumption of animal proteins, with the added caveat that they are doing so while seeking out meat raised in more ethical manners with cleaner labels, reports Packaged Facts in the market research study Vegan, Vegetarian, and Flexitarian Consumers.
Packaged Facts' survey data published in the report reveal that among all US consumers, twice as many (49%) consider clean label options important when grocery shopping compared to 24% of those who consider clean label options irrelevant.
"The term clean label generally covers three broad areas of concern – what is in the food, how the food is produced, and who produces it," says Jennifer Mapes-Christ, food and beverage publisher for Packaged Facts. "There is a powerful emotional component to clean label consumerism. It is personal and can be empowering. It means connecting to the community and to the world; making choices driven by values; nostalgia for a simpler time; and advocating for the well-being of animals raised for food, of growers in developing countries, or of the planet."
Meat from animals raised on grassland is seen to be superior to conventional meat in a number of ways, including taste, nutrition, environmental impact, and ethics. Meat sourced this way is much more expensive than conventional meat due to the higher production costs. With the growing popularity of grass-fed beef, more large US-based producers are entering the grass-fed market since most grass-fed beef is currently imported. More US-based producers entering the grass-fed market can help to drive prices down due to more availability.
However, for consumers most concerned about the ethics of eating meat, large companies making grass-fed "meat factories" do not satisfy concerns about the meat industry's lack of transparency. Small businesses focused on whole-animal butchery are cropping up and pairing with local farms that raise animals on pasture to enhance transparency and instill consumer trust in the ethicality of eating meat.
Learn more about the report.