Willingness to replace animal-based products with pulses among consumers in different European countries

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The growing world population and increased meat consumption pose a challenge for current food production systems. While pulses present a promising position in terms of low impacts in primary production and high nutritional quality, it is unclear whether consumers are willing to consume pulses instead of meat. Based on an online survey answered by 4,322 respondents across five European countries, this study examined consumers’ willingness to utilize pulses as a plant-based alternative to animal-based products. More than a third of pulse consumers (42%) were, to some extent, already using pulses as an alternative to animal-based foods. Beef was noted as the most frequently replaced type of food, mainly driven by arguments relating to health, environment, and sustainability, especially relevant for German and Danish consumers. Respondents who did not indicate a current replacement of animal-based foods stated a relatively low willingness to change in the future (40%). German pulse consumers were likely to be part of the low willingness segment. In contrast, Polish consumers possessed a relatively higher incidence of using pulses instead of meat, especially pork and poultry. Respondents with a low replacement willingness indicated a high importance of future pulse-based products to be natural, while respondents already using pulses instead of animal-based foods expected convenient and minimally processed foods. Respondents, who already replaced meat with pulses or expressed a low future willingness, stated to prefer plain pulses over processed pulse-based products, and meat-resembling forms considering the former segment, alternatively to meat. These preferences and expectations should be considered for future product development, especially if aiming to attract unwilling consumers to shift to pulse-based foods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111403
JournalFood Research International
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: ©2022

    Research areas

  • Behavior, Cross-cultural research, Expectations, Future products, Legumes, Meat alternatives, Survey, Sustainability

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