Americans are rethinking meat

 After failed attempts at fad diets or reeling from information overload – consumers are looking for a comprehensive approach to healthy living – even if that means eating less meat. While the U.S. vegetarian population is small, more consumers are rethinking their meat consumption and opting for a “flexitarian” lifestyle. They consciously reduce their meat intake, while still occasionally enjoy protein. According to an Allrecipies.com user study, more than 1/3 of home cooks reported eating less meat compared to a year ago. While most people report that they are cutting back on protein for health reasons, saving money, environmental protection, and animal cruelty are also listed as top concerns.

Evidence of this trend is the growing popularity and social media following of the nonprofit Meatless Monday, developed in association with the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. FGI Research data show that 50% of Americans are aware of the Meatless Monday concept; up from 30% six months ago, with 27% saying it has led them to cut back on eating meat.

The number of U.S. food products making a claim such as ‘meat free’ or ‘meatless’ on the package grew 21% to 1,198 during the period 2009 to 2011, according to Innova Market Insights. Cathy Schneck, vice president of marketing at Kellogg Frozen Foods, estimates that some 75% of their customers eat some kind of meat — but just want to eat less. As consumers seek out meat-free meal options, expect to see more brands tailor to this growing trend.

For more, visit The Top 5 Health Trends of 2012

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