ROCKVILLE, MD. - As consumers look for more plant-based options to add to their diets, they are still seeking out meat raised in more ethical manners with cleaner labels, according to a new study from Packaged Facts, Vegan, Vegetarian, and Flexitarian Consumers.  

Survey data published in the report reveals 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," said 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 as superior to conventional meat in several ways, including taste, nutrition, environmental impact and ethics.  

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 the report said. 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.