Friday 03 April 2020

Time for beetroot burgers not yet come: meat consumption is up

Despite the increasingly popularity of veggie hamburgers, the Dutch are actually eating more real meat, according to research by Wageningen University for animal rights campaign group Wakker Dier.

Last year is the first time meat consumption has gone up since 2009, with consumers consuming 77.2 kilos of meat per person in 2018 compared to 76.6 kilos in 2017.

Wakker Dier said it was disappointed at the news. ‘Eating less meat seems to be more popular but this rise contradicts the food trends of recent years. It seemed the time for the  beetroot burger had come and now this,’ Wakker Dier spokesperson Anne Hilhorst said.

This summer, market research group IRI published research pointing to a rise in popularity for meat replacement products. It said the sale of vegetable-based meat substitutes had risen 51% over the past two years while meat sales went down by 9%.

Researcher Hans Dagevos said the two sets of data are not necessarily contradictory. ‘Both findings can be true. IRI has a different and narrower research focus. Our research is broader but it is very good to have different sources. At the same time this shows that each method has its limitations,’ he told broadcaster NOS.

The Wageningen research also looked at the consumption of meat outside the home, which may have influenced consumption figures. ‘The number of tourists to this country is growing every year, and it is a fact that touristy restaurants usually have hamburgers and sate on the menu. Lots of meat.’,  Dagevos said.

Domestic figures for restaurant visits were also up and that may mean that people are buying less meat at supermarkets but eating more meat at restaurants.

The weather may also have been a factor, according to Dagevos who said it is difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for the rise. ‘There were more hot days which are good for barbecues. And people tend to eat more at parties.’

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