As we did in January 2021, we asked our panelists in January 2022 about their New Year’s resolutions – keeping answer choices consistent between years for comparative purposes. Our findings offer some interesting insights into plant-based buyers’ current priorities, including minor but noteworthy changes from year to year. Let’s dive in!
New Year’s Resolutions 2021 vs. 2022
TOP 3 RESOLUTIONS
The top three resolutions selected by respondents for 2022 (excluding “None of the above”) were “Minimize food waste” (37%), “Eat more plant-based foods” (28%), and “Shop locally more often” (27%). These are very similar to our 2021 findings, though the percentage of panelists who chose the top three answers declined between 3% to 6% in 2022. The top responses in 2021 were “Minimize food waste” (40%), “Shop locally more often” (33%), and “Eat more plant-based foods” (33%).
Last year we noted that the top resolutions – “Minimize food waste” and “Shop locally more often” – were relevant both as causes that have gained traction in recent years and as topics that took on new meaning and importance to consumers in light of COVID-19. We assume that this dual effect still holds true in 2022, and that the progression of COVID from ongoing crisis in early 2021 to a slow recovery phase (for most parts of the US) in early 2022 may explain the small decrease in related resolutions between years.
We’ll also point out, as we did last year, that the percentage of respondents who cited “Eat more plant-based foods” (28%) is noteworthy, because all respondents – since they’re on our panel – are already plant-based buyers. (Meaning that they have purchased a plant-based product, whether milk, meat, cheese, etc., in the 90 days prior to their signing up for the panel.) So consumers who are already purchasing these products want to continue to increase their consumption of them.
INTEREST IN MEAT REDUCTION (BUT NOT ELIMINATION) HOLDS
Very similar to our 2021 findings, respondents in 2022 want to eat less meat (25%), but substantially fewer of them want to stop eating meat altogether (just 3%). This, at its core, is a testament to the relevance, popularity, and longevity of flexitarianism as a way of eating. Reducing meat and/or eating more plants can be more realistic and appealing options than totally eliminating meat, and it’s likely that this will hold true for many years to come.
We noted this last year, but it bears repeating: this finding has important implications for plant-based brands as they consider their ideal customers. Only 3% of those already buying plant-based products want to stop eating meat altogether. Add that to the estimated 1% of the population that is vegan and 3% that is vegetarian, and the results are clear: most people buying plant-based products also consume meat. (In fact, according to GFI, 98% of those who buy plant-based meat also buy conventional meat.)
SUSTAINABLE ASPIRATIONS PERSIST
Respondents’ interest in living more sustainably continued from 2021 to 2022, which should come as no surprise given our growing societal awareness of environmental issues. As of January 2022, 24% of plant-based buyers want to “Avoid single-use plastic,” 21% want to “Buy used when possible,” 11% want to “Carry reusable utensils,” and 7% want to “Start composting.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
Our findings from plant-based buyers’ 2022 New Year’s resolutions are very similar to those from 2021. And although a stark difference would be interesting and might make for an exciting headline, it’s not surprising that there are no drastic shifts between years. Many of these trends – eating less meat and more plants, living more sustainably, making more thoughtful purchases – have been building for years, and are heightened by COVID.
One finding did stand out: 30% of respondents in 2022 chose “None of the above” in response to our resolution question, versus 21% of respondents who selected that answer last year. Maybe this is because they brought their resolutions to fruition in 2021. Or maybe they’re feeling the fatigue of COVID and our uncertain world, and don’t have the energy for resolutions. Or maybe their priorities have simply shifted. What do you think? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.