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Gen Z Video Insights:

The Appeal of Plant-Based Meat

A decade ago, meat came exclusively from animals, as far as most people were concerned. Most Americans hadn’t even heard of plant-based meats, although meat alternatives and “meatless meats” have existed in some  form as far back as the 1800sNow, the sale of plant-based meat alternatives is one of the fastest growing trends in the food industry, and Gen Z is eating it up.

Nearly 9.7 million Americans identify as vegan or vegetarian, but they’re not the only ones buying plant-based alternatives anymore. Millions of Americans are hungry for meatless options, and this trend is driven in large part by Gen Z. Gen Z is deeply committed to sustainability and the need for sustainable food has driven many Zoomers to plant-based meat alternatives. This growing field of cuisine involves growing fields of cuisine, and literally turning grains and other products into foods that taste, look, and smell like meat.

Since Gen-Z spends up to 78% of their disposable income on food, a move to plant-based is a trend that companies might want to sink their teeth into.

Need somewhere to start? We’ve got you covered: we conducted an in depth, 72 hour quick-turn study to gauge Gen Z’s motivations for buying and eating plant-based meats. Here are the videos we collected from our Gen Z panel on the topic.

Why is Gen Z moving to plant-based foods?

It’s sustainable and humane

Climate change remains a top concern for Gen Z, and plant-based meat alternatives emit up to 90% less greenhouse gasses than animal meat. Since there’s no supply chain of food grown and delivered to animals who then need to be slaughtered and packaged, the entire process behind plant-based meats are both more humane and more sustainable.

It’s healthy and delicious

New studies show plant-based alternatives to have lower fat and higher nutrients than animal meat, though they can be higher in sodium. The biggest changes came when companies including Impossible and Beyond began replicating the taste and texture of meats in 2015 and 2016. Now consumers have options that taste like meat, but aren’t. Omnivores can go against the grain by purchasing meaty burgers made of grain, and their bodies will be better for it.

How the pandemic changed the way Gen Z eats

More Zoomers Are Cooking (And Eating) At Home

When Covid hit, many people were forced to start cooking from their kitchens. In fact, our own studies found 72% of Gen-Z were cooking more frequently than pre-pandemic. While not everyone’s cooking plant-based meats, many Zoomers are eager to learn or to cook more meat alternatives. 

Supply Line Issues Are Driving Plant-Based Meat Adoption

Empty Shelves and supply chain woes have affected both omnivores and vegans alike. Gen-Z continues to prefer plant-based options, which have remained on shelves, often when animal meat vanishes from the shelves. This is no optical illusion. Forbes explains that due to less water and human labor involved in the production of plant-based meats, the supplies of plant based products are often not affected when the meat aisles go empty of animal products. The entire plant-based industry is able to do more with less, part of its sustainable model that helped it weather the pandemic. One million pounds of plant-based meat takes about 68,000 square feet of processing space, compared to the over 6,500 acres needed to farm a similar quantity of beef.

While Gen Z is less likely to identify as vegan or vegetarian than Millenialls, they are more likely to demand that plant-based options be incorporated into their diets. With a focus on the environment, personal health, and sustainability plant-based options will continue to grow in popularity. As plant-based meats join mainstream culture, appearing at restaurant chains from Dunkin Donuts and IHOP to KFC and Burger King it’s impossible to deny the impact of the industry. Plant-based meats and other plant-based alternatives will continue to take a larger and larger bite out of the food industry.

If you are what you eat, then Gen Z is definitely ready to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to their commitment to sustainability and climate. Ready to tap into Knit’s panel for insights like these? Get your fill when you contact our Gen Z research experts — we think you’ll like what we can serve up.

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