Maybe it’s because of the extreme partisanship dominating so many of the political, social and other realms of our lives these days, but the idea of finding solutions somewhere in the middle seems more appealing than ever.
In the food world, one compromise solution that’s gaining traction every year is flexitarianism. For health, environmental or other reasons, flexitarians eat mostly non-meat products (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes, etc.) But they mix in meats here and there to get their protein or, you know, because meat tastes really good.
Many food marketers are targeting flexitarians —as opposed to vegetarians on the one end or paleo dieters on the other —for future growth, and they have good reason to do so.
According to the Hartman Group, 41% of plant-based purchasers thought of themselves as people who were limiting meat, and 1 in 5 described themselves as carnivores. Only 12% of plant-based purchasers described themselves as vegetarians, while 41% of them described their eating styles as “omnivore.”
“Veganism and vegetarian diets are not the driving force behind consumer interest in plant-based products,” said consultant Amy Marks-McGee. “Instead, consumers with a wide range of lifestyles and flexitarian diets are pursuing plant-based products, driven by flavor, texture, wellness, and desire for variety.”
According to KeHE Distributors’ list of trends to keep an eye on in 2022, shoppers are “choosing to eat more of a flexitarian diet with less meat and more plants rather than committing to becoming a vegan or vegetarian. This holds true for other popular diets like keto as well, choosing lower carb over low carb.”
And the rise in flexitarianism is not hurting the meat industry. Just take a look at the numbers. Retail meat sales hit new highs during the first year of the pandemic that industry insiders didn’t think could be matched. In 2021, however, they were not only equaled, they were surpassed.
Flexitarianism isn’t right for everyone, but for a growing number of Americans, it’s the sensible, moderate solution.
Nothing wrong with moderation.