Turkey-Free Thanksgiving: How Meat Alternatives Could Reshape the American Dining Experience

Press Release
Nov 26, 2014
Rockville (MD), November 26, 2014 — The turkey enjoys a long-standing and much mythologized association with America’s greatest food-centric celebration, Thanksgiving. But more families are celebrating without the holiday’s most popular poultry mainstay present at the dinner table. As a result, other forms of meats (i.e., beef roasts, pork, seafood, and even more exotic options such as quail and venison) and meat-free dishes are increasingly taking center plate on the so-called Turkey Day.

Some experts attribute the shift to more consumers likely eating turkey more frequently throughout the year then they used to, which devalues the significance of the bird as a special Thanksgiving treat. Market research firm Packaged Facts points to increased consumer acceptance of alternative forms of protein such as plant-based vegetarian analogs for chicken as also at least partially influencing the trend.

Proteins - Classic, Alternative and Exotic Sources: Culinary Trend Tracking Series, a June 2014 report by Packaged Facts, reveals that the increase in vegetarianism and flexitarianism has made the meat alternatives market a competitive and lucrative space. In a Packaged Facts April-May 2014 survey, 28% of respondents indicated they are seeking vegetarian sources of protein. These sources span a healthy range of products from beans & legumes to “fake meat.” Further, the firm’s June 2013 survey data revealed that 33% of consumers choose to eat a meatless lunch or dinner two to three times per week or more.

Does this mean that vegetarian chicken analogs will fully usurp the mighty turkey on Thanksgiving? Highly unlikely, but what’s clear is that opportunities for these and other meat alternatives to win over vegetarian and non-vegetarian Americans year-round is there. The greatest challenge to winning over more American palates is convincing consumers of the improved taste and texture of these products compared to what has often been experienced in the past. Enhanced value proposition gives the entire meat-alternatives category a market outside of vegetarians and frequent-practicing flexitarians. The near-“I can’t taste the difference” attribute for meat-alternatives opens up a tremendous business opportunity and increased demand that was not there previously.

“Beyond strict vegetarians, the market for meat-free proteins is much greater if it can encompass those who are eco-eating and thus, occasionally looking for good, flavorful alternatives to meat on select meal occasions, at their own choosing and at random intervals,” says Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle. “By improving the flavor and texture dramatically over what has been offered in the past, high-protein, great-tasting meat alternatives have business ‘legs.’”

For more information on Proteins - Classic, Alternative and Exotic Sources: Culinary Trend Tracking Series please visit: http://www.packagedfacts.com/Culinary-Trend-Tacking-8106754/.

About Packaged Facts -- Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer demographics and shopper insights, consumer financial products and services, consumer goods and retailing, consumer packaged goods, and pet products and services. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services. To learn more, visit: www.packagedfacts.com. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.

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