Who is the animal-alternative product shopper?
In the inaugural Power of Plant-based Foods and Beverages 2022 report, which is the Food Industry Association's (FMI) first-ever comprehensive review of the plant-based topic broadly, the organization has looked at naturally plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains and alternatives to traditional animal-derived items. Its analysis finds nearly half (42%) of shoppers put either a lot or some effort into selecting plant-based foods or beverages.
But first, let's drill down and look at a specific plant-based foods and beverages shopper – the shopper looking for alternatives to dairy, meat and seafood, referred to as animal-alternative product shoppers here. What are their demographics, their motivations, their mindsets?
The FMI research finds these consumers tend to be younger, with the majority in Gen Z or millennial households. They tend to live in larger households with at least three people and many have households with children. And 31% have household incomes of +US$100,000, and there is also a skew towards minorities – specifically Hispanic and Black shoppers. Animal-alternative product shoppers also are more likely to live in urban or suburban areas.
The consumer survey finds these animal alternatives shoppers have a higher-than-average weekly grocery spend of US$184 versus US$163. They also have a higher propensity to order groceries online and spend more on groceries online. These consumers are also likely to shop around more – visiting Mass, Club, no frills, online-only or natural food retailers.
Animal-alternative product shoppers are more likely to put a lot of effort into selecting nutrition and healthy alternatives than the average grocery shopper. Almost half of animal-alternative product shoppers are impacted by food allergies or intolerances. While these shoppers are about twice as likely as all shoppers to be vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian, 80% of them do not classify themselves that way. Most animal-alternative product shoppers follow a specific approach to eating including heart-health, gluten-free and low carb.
What does all this mean? The picture of the animal-alternative product shopper is a bit clearer, but their motivations and habits still vary. Food retailers and suppliers can use these research findings to create insightful shopping experiences and products for the animal-alternative product shopper. After all, the more we know about our shoppers, the better we can meet their needs.
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