Report: Most consumers distrust meat and dairy companies/producers

Do conventional meat and dairy producers feel threatened by the increased product and popularity of plant-based foods? They should. But that threat might not be their biggest problem, according to a new study from The Hartman Group, which offers research and analysis on food and beverage trends.

According to the The Hartman Group’s Food & Technology 2019: From Plant-based to Lab-grown report, almost all consumers — whether they purchase plant-based foods or not — have some level of distrust in meat and dairy companies/producers.

 “Factory farming and its abuses have made consumers question the ethics of eating animal products; popular documentaries have eroded trust in the meat/dairy industries,” said Laurie Demeritt, CEO of The Hartman Group. “The upside for the industries is that for the vast majority of consumers, meat and dairy still represent highly symbolic, routine and pleasurable categories.”

The report found that milk, meat and dairy alternatives are growing swiftly, while meat is growing slowly and milk is in decline. Over half of consumers (51%) have purchased plant-based milk, dairy, or meat in the last three months. These products are no longer a niche lifestyle choice but a prominent feature of mainstream food culture, the report stated.
“Plant-based purchasing today is happening in a cultural atmosphere that is very different from the moralistic, sustainability-driven vegetarianism of the 1970s. Less than half of plant-based purchasers today think of themselves as people who are limiting meat, and one in five actually describes themselves as carnivores,” the reported noted.