Mature man looks through glass of meat counter in supermarket

Though the latest Consumer Digest from 84.51° reports that the percentage of consumers who are extremely concerned about inflation declined slightly in March (to 62%, down from 64% in February), the percentage of those who are cutting back on non-essentials and switching to lower cost brands has been inching up.

The March edition of the Consumer Digest specifically highlights how consumers are adjusting their animal-based and plant-based protein purchases to fit their budget. Compared to a year ago, 66% of households said they’re consuming the same amount of protein, but 17% are consuming less, citing difficulties affording groceries. 

Some of the ways consumers reported coping with costs included cooking dishes that use less meat (43%), purchasing cheaper cuts of meat (37%), and replacing some meat purchases with proteins like beans, legumes, nut, and eggs (33%). A smaller percentage reported cutting back on protein consumption (18%) and supplementing with protein-based smoothies (9%).

When it comes to plant-based purchases, factors like overall health (59%), sustainability (42%), and animal cruelty (36%) encourage consumers to buy more plant-based products, but cost is a barrier for many. More than half (53%) of consumers said cost drives them to consume less plant-based proteins, followed by a lack of sales and promotions (41%). Some shoppers also said texture (24%) and taste (22%) dissuade them from purchasing plant-based. 

Nearly half (48%) of surveyed consumers said they’re not likely to try plant-based alternatives in the future, while just 5% said they’re very likely to try such products.

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