Why do some diners avoid plant-based meat dishes and what are the different types of diners who avoid them?

Why do some diners avoid plant-based meat dishes and what are the different types of diners who avoid them?

What kind of diner are you? 6 types of diners who avoid plant-based meat dishes

The Australian plant-based meat industry has grown significantly in recent years and has been projected to become a A$3 billion industry by 2030. Yet most consumers still hesitate to order a plant-based meat dish in restaurants.

In a new study, researchers asked 647 Australians why they don’t order plant-based meat dishes when dining out. It turns out not everyone shares the same reasons.

The 6 types of diner

Type 1: environmentally conscious, plant-based meat eater

This type of diner has no issues with meat alternatives. In fact, they enjoy experimenting with plant-based meat products at home. However, they prefer ordering traditional vegetable dishes when dining out to avoid eating a product they don’t like.

Type 2: health-conscious, plant-based meat supporter

This type of diner is similar to type 1, except they care about being fit and healthy. They prefer to “just eat the vegetables they use to make the fake meat”, as one study participant told us, because they think meat alternatives contain too much sodium, soy, fat, sugar and genetically modified ingredients.

Type 3: curious plant-based meat avoider

This type of diner typically orders a meat dish and occasionally a vegetable option. They are curious to try plant-based meat, but they are not familiar with it and don’t want to risk disappointment.

Type 4: sceptical plant-based meat avoider

Like the curious plant-based meat avoider, this type of diner orders more meat than vegetable dishes. They believe meat alternatives are unhealthy and they don’t trust the technology used to create them. They also do not support the idea of mimicking meat with plants and giving these products names similar to animal meat such as burger or steak.

Type 5: indifferent meat lover

This type of diner has no issues with plant-based meat. Yet they wouldn’t consider ordering a plant-based meat dish. Eating meat is an integral part of their restaurant experience and they “wouldn’t know how you’d mimic meat sliding off a bone”.

Type 6: critical meat lover

This type of diner dislikes everything about plant-based meat. They don’t understand why anyone would replace meat with a plant-based alternative, nor why it is important.

Why does this matter?

As David Attenborough says: “We must change our diet. The planet can’t support billions of meat-eaters.” Occasionally ordering a plant-based meal instead of a meat dish can greatly reduce the environmental footprint of the global food system.
Animal agriculture accounts for 56% of food-related greenhouse gas emissions but produces only 18% of calories and 37% of protein. Plant-based alternatives to chicken, pork and beef emit, on average, 43%, 63% and 93% less greenhouse gas emissions.

5 ways restaurants can promote plant-based meat dishes

Restaurants are the perfect tasting ground to introduce diners (especially curious and sceptical plant-based meat avoiders) to meat alternatives. Here are five simple things restaurants can do to promote plant-based meat dishes:

  • hand out free samples to reduce the fear of disappointment
  • serve plant-based meat by default to break meat-ordering habits
  • describe plant-based meat with indulgent words and avoid using unappealing language, such as the word vegan
  • provide health information to overcome the belief that meat alternatives are unhealthier than meat, which is often not true
  • integrate plant-based meat dishes into the full menu rather than listing them in a separate vegetarian section

By Mehek

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