Commentary: The acceptance of alternative proteins

The corona pandemic had a drastic impact on the (shopping) behavior of consumers, especially during the months of March to May. On behalf of Kulinaria Germany the Rhine gold Institut in a current study more exactly under the magnifying glass took, which motivation determined and partly still determines the food purchase.

From the phase of "hamster purchases" (flour, yeast, soup, noodles), it can be deduced that securing the supply and building up or replenishing stocks suddenly had a high priority. Purchases were made in a very planned and targeted manner, if possible without spending too much time in the stores. Due to the lockdown, combined with closed restaurants and canteens, the "family table" also became more important again. At the same time, the Corona period also sharpened the view for the essential and grounded the topic of nutrition, which had previously been occupied with a high performance claim. Instead of high nutritional ideals, the focus is now on a healthy dose of reality. Manufacturers of culinary products are observing that the relaxed demands for perfection and the new pragmatism are increasing the acceptance of convenience overall. Health, safety and hygiene are also important.

So what does this mean in terms of customer acceptance of alternative proteins? First of all, with regard to "our" products, we can see that meat replacement products have conquered a firm place on the shelves of supermarkets and also in consumers' pantries. We have not seen these products suddenly become more popular with consumers in the wake of the Corona pandemic; they have been growing at a steady rate over the past few years. 

However, the corona pandemic may indirectly affect the development and acceptance of alternative proteins. Due to the high number of new infections among workers in slaughterhouses and cutting plants, there has been much discussion in recent weeks about the working conditions there. It cannot be ruled out that the tense situation in the meat industry, accompanied by critical reporting, will have a lasting influence on consumer decisions. 

In our view, the consumer's desire for health, safety and hygiene as well as the need for consolation will continue in any case at a time when people are giving up many cherished habits and also the company of relatives and friends. However, unlabored pleasure experiences are not reserved for the animal protein sector or the alternative protein sector. "'it must taste good!" - otherwise everything is useless.

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