Customers’ Top Reasons to Eat Less Meat and Become Flexitarians

Monday, January 11, 2021

Flexitarians are a large and growing population, which means there are more and more potential customers out there, keen to try plant-based meat alternatives that don’t compromise on flavour and satisfaction. But before you can win them over with your offering, here is what you need to know about how many of us are turning into flexitarians and find out what are some of the most common reasons why people eat plant-based meat, directly from consumers.

Chef holding a plant-based meat burger banner image

The Rising Flexitarian Trend

Here come the flexitarians

Vegetarians and vegans aren’t the only ones looking for plant-based proteins. Increasingly, many people in the UK are following a flexitarian diet, which means they actively choose to eat less meat. 

Here are a few numbers to give you an overview of what are the implications of more and more people finding reasons to eat less meat.

  •  44% of consumers would like more restaurants to offer plant-based meat alternatives1
  • 21% of people in the UK are reducing red meat consumption2.
  • 34% of consumers occasionally choose plant-based protein when dining out of home for better health, 25% because it’s better for the environment3.
  • Globally, people are trying to increase their intake of plant-based protein4.

•    44% Mexico
•    25% USA
•    20% UK
•    16% Germany
•    37% China 

  • Meat alternatives are big business 1 in 3 people in the UK identify as flexitarian3

Customers’ reasons to eat less meat

Here are some of the reasons that may influence your customers’ dining choices5.

Illustration of different customers who have answered why they eat plant-based meat


Oftentimes the answer to the question ‘why do people eat plant-based meat’ is very simple: because they want to know what it tastes like.

Trend-setter | Age: 23
Dines out 4 times per week at fast food, casual and bistros

"I keep hearing about meat alternatives and how much they look and taste like real meat. People are saying they can’t even tell the difference! Now I’m curious. I want to see what everyone’s raving about, so I’m going to order one next time I see it on the menu".


Animal wellbeing

Another top reasons to eat less meat according to customers is the uncomfortable thought of suffering being inflicted on innocent animals.

Animal-lover | Age: 16
Dines out twice per week at fast food restaurants.

"I grew up eating meat, but I don’t like the way cows, pigs, and chickens are treated on some farms. By eating less meat, I can send a message to the industry that I don’t support poor living conditions for animals".


Health concerns

Health also plays a big role in the decision to go flexitarian and add more plants to their diet, as well as plant-based meat alternatives.

Fitness Junky | Age: 30

"I used to eat a lot of meat, but now I’m trying to cut down and eat more plant-based foods. I’ve had to think of different protein sources to include in my diet because I want to grow my muscle mass. Choosing plant-based alternatives that are a source of protein is an easy way for me to change my diet without having to rethink everything I eat".


Environmental concerns

Climate change is another reason for customers to eat less meat and thus influence their dining choices.

Mum | Age: 45
Dines out once per week at casual family restaurants.

"My daughter recently became a vegetarian because she’s concerned about climate change. However, the rest of our family still eats meat, and we don’t want to be limited to eating at vegetarian restaurants every time we go out together. If we can find a place that offers both plant-based proteins and real meat on the menu, it’s easier for everyone, and each of us can order what we like".

Activist | Age: 18
Dines out once per week at fast casual restaurants.

"I know that animal farms can be hard on the environment because some of them use so much land and water and create harmful runoff and emissions. So I’m doing my part to protect the earth by eating less meat. With so many restaurants adding plant-based sausage and burgers to their menus, it’s easy to make that switch and stick to my commitments".

There are many reasons to eat less meat and many customers who will continue to take the leap towards becoming flexitarians. To make sure you know how to cater to them, read our guide to Flexitarian and vegan marketing tips, next.


  1. Nestlé Professional plant-based menu, 2018
  2. Consumer focus: the rise of plant-based food products and implications for meat and diary, 2018
  3. Veganism, flexitarians, and the power of influencers, Kantar 2017.
  4. Globaldata survey, 2019
  5. Dataessentials plant-based entry, 2018