Belgians buy into plant-based meat alternatives

Belgians buy into plant-based meat alternatives
Although only accounting for a small share of the market, Belgians are getting a taste for plant-based "meats". Credit: Canva

Charcuterie boards are unlikely to disappear anytime soon, but plant-based meat alternatives are increasingly finding their way onto Belgian plates.

Sales of plant-based meat alternatives remain a footnote on supermarket bottom lines, representing 1.9% of meat sales. However, the Colruyt Group reports that sales are growing.

Plant-based meat alternatives could represent 10 % of meat market sales by the end of the decade, Le Soir reported. However, industry analysts aren't sure whether this will mean large numbers adopting vegetarian or vegan diets.

Instead, more Belgians are taking to what has been termed a "flexitarian" diet. This might incorporate meat substitutes, but not in a way completely replacing chicken, beef, or pork on household menus.

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Belgians cite various reasons for eating a more varied diet: health concerns, such as a desire to cut down on red meat or processed meat, are common. A desire to be more environmentally conscious is also a frequent reason for turning to plant-based meat alternatives.

Last year, 46% of Europeans said that their meat consumption decreased during the previous 12 months, according to a survey conducted by the international vegetarian organisation ProVeg, The Brussels Times previously reported.

As meat consumption decreases, shoppers are looking for other protein sources. In 2020, research firm GfK found that 37.3% of surveyed households had bought at least one plant-based meat alternative in the past year. Analysts also expect people to buy these products more often as they become more familiar with the plant-based options.

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