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Low satisfaction over vegetarian availability, research finds

by Rachel Symonds
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The number of vegetarians satisfied with the choice of food products has suffered a dramatic decline.

That is according to the findings of new research commissioned by Ingredient Communications, which conducted an online poll of 1,000 consumers in the USA and UK and found that the net satisfaction rate among vegetarians was eight per cent. This was a significant fall on 2018, when the same survey recorded net satisfaction among vegetarians at 47 per cent.

In the US, net satisfaction among vegetarians has slumped from 38 per cent in 2018 to -10 per cent now, a negative swing of 48 per cent. In the UK, meanwhile, net satisfaction among vegetarians has suffered a negative swing of 35 per cent, from 55 per cent in 2018 to 20 per cent in the latest survey.

In stark contrast, net satisfaction among vegans has risen from two per cent in 2018 to 17 per cent today. Net satisfaction among US vegans now stands at -three per cent, versus -nine per cent in 2018. Among UK vegans, net satisfaction is 25 per cent, compared with 28 per cent five years earlier.

Richard Clarke, Managing Director of Ingredient Communications, commented: “High levels of dissatisfaction and declining net satisfaction rates among vegetarians indicate a concerning trend that needs further scrutiny. Of particular interest is that fewer vegetarians find plant-based meat and dairy products appealing. This might help to explain why net satisfaction levels are so much lower among these consumers.

“There are many benefits to a vegan lifestyle, and there are lots of great products out there to cater for the needs of vegans. But the question has to be asked: in the rush to go 100 per cent plant-based, have brands and retailers neglected the needs of vegetarians, who are usually happy to eat dairy and egg ingredients? If so, are more hybrid products the answer? In any case, the findings of our survey reinforce the golden rule of food manufacturing: that it’s essential to use the very best ingredients to deliver an excellent eating experience. The days have long gone when vegans and veggies were simply grateful to have something – anything – they could eat. They want and expect the best.”

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