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The trend for flexitarianism: Consumers are reducing meat intakes, say Dutch researchers

1 commentBy Nathan Gray , 24-Jan-2013
Last updated on 24-Jan-2013 at 14:16 GMT2013-01-24T14:16:34Z

The trend for flexitarianism: Are consumers reducing meat intakes?

For many Dutch consumers reducing the level of meat they consume is becoming normal practice, according to the findings of new research.

The new evidence, produced by Hans Dagevos from Wageningen UR  in the Netherlands, suggests many consumers are interested reducing meat consumption without turning away from meat completely.

The new data finds more than three-quarters of the consumers questioned have at least one ‘meat free day’ per week, while over 40% eat no meat at least three days per week.

“Giving up meat completely is a food consumption pattern change that is too drastic and unattractive for most people,” say the researchers. “But making efforts to eat meat less frequently is becoming customary to many Dutch consumers and hardly a strange or problematic food habit anymore.”

“It would not come as a complete surprise, then, when flexitarianism, as a third way between carnivorous and vegetarian food styles, develops into a growth area in the years to come.”

Cannot be ignored

Dagevos and his colleagues suggested that such findings imply that the trend for flexitarianism cannot be ignored by the food industry.

“Figures like these demonstrate that a considerable number of Dutch food consumers declare that they eat no meat at dinner for several days in the week,” they write.

“When these data on the meat eating frequency of a representative group of Dutch consumers are related to official statistics regarding the absolute amount of meat that is eaten in The Netherlands, it is likewise convincingly demonstrated that flexitarianism should be situated in a full-blown carnivorous food consumer culture.”

A Dutch phenomenon?

The Dutch researchers say that the emerging trend for reducing the consumption of meat exists not only in the Netherlands but also elsewhere in Europe, and can also be seen in Germany.

The German population contains the highest percentage of vegetarians of the European member states and a large number of part-time vegetarians who eat no meat at least three days per week, they note. 

“It would be no surprise if further research were to reveal a large potential among German consumers for pushing the trend for reduced meat consumption even further.”

1 comment (Comments are now closed)

That's new?

Amongst health conscious people, it has not just been a trend but a way of life in the USA. Fat reduction is the main reason. Our roadways are not set up to ride a bike everywhere, so we are not able to naturally, daily get exercise, we have to "work it." one of the ways that is controllable is through diet. We could never live on cheese, butter, bread cream . . . like people in the Netherlands, we would be very overweight, I don't think we are made the same way, through generations.

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Posted by Cheryl Farkas
25 January 2013 | 15h232013-01-25T15:23:57Z

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