Millennials Very “Eh” About Eating Less Meat Or Plant-Based Meats
STORY: Nicholas Yong & Diane Lam
03 February 2023
Have you been stuffing yourself silly during the Lunar New Year? How much meat have you consumed through the long weekend?
Well, a recent YouGov survey found that as of January 2023, more than a third of Singaporean consumers say that they’re actively trying to cut down on their meat intake – however, the majority of these are comprised of Baby Boomers and Gen X, with just a third of Millennials and less than a quarter of Gen Z responding in kind.
Given our ever-increasing awareness about the environmental impact of eating meat, as well as its impact on human health, our Millennial writers were surprised that their generation isn’t as keen on adopting a rabbit’s diet, so to speak. We discuss the findings:
34% of Singaporean consumers are actively trying to cut down on their meat consumption, while only 30% are not making any changes. 36% are still on the fence, suggesting that they may be considering reducing their meat intake.
Nicholas: I am a proud meat-lover (and the biggest McDonald’s fan too) so I am probably part of the 30%, but I don’t think I am overeating lah, just my normal meals where possible. And right now I am having aglio olio pasta.
Diane: These generalisations are pretty broad, so I wouldn’t draw any conclusions just yet. For instance, how much meat do those surveyed consume in the first place? And “actively trying to cut down” can range from participating in Veganuary once a year to going plant-based once a week.
Ah Ma and Ah Kong are more likely to reduce eating meats. 55% of Baby Boomers and 41% of Gen X consumers say they are taking steps to eat less meat, compared to 32% of Millennials and 22% of Gen Z. About a third of Singaporeans in each generation are undecided about changing their meat consumption.
Nicholas: I thought our golden generation are eating less meat because they are really watching what they eat, or maybe they don’t have the appetite to eat more. When my grandmother was around, she would eat very little.
Diane: Eh, one of the main reasons I never considered cutting down my meat intake earlier is that it could significantly impact my social life. But now that I’m getting older and generally partying less, I’m seriously thinking about it - perhaps Boomers feel the same, or perhaps as we get older, we start caring less about what our peers think of our dietary choices.
Nicholas: True also, the most important thing is to live healthy and stay healthy for our loved ones.
58% of Singaporeans who have decided to reduce their meat intake prefer buying from local shops, and 59% prefer shopping “little and often” as opposed to “big and less often”.
Nicholas: Can’t vouch for those who choose to eat less meat, but I do shop “little and often” when I go to the supermarket. At most, I would buy for the next three days tops? I don’t mind walking to my nearby Sheng Siong or stopping by FairPrice on my way home from wherever just to buy the food I need to prepare for tomorrow’s meal. Or dabao from somewhere if I lazy to cook.
Diane: Aiya just use online grocery shopping lah haha it’s super easy to find plant-forward food that way. I suppose this counts as “big and less often” since you wouldn’t necessarily order from Redmart more than once a week (*cough* delivery fees).
Nicholas: I guess I am lucky got FairPrice Finest near me, they always well-stocked with plant-based meat. But quite expensive.
How open are Singaporeans to substituting their meat products for plant-based alternatives? 34% are willing to make the switch, 30% say they won’t, and 34% are undecided.
Nicholas: I mean I've already eaten Beyond Meat and Impossible at fast food restaurants when they offered it. To me, it definitely tastes like the real thing, no doubt about it.
Diane: I think a major barrier of entry for Millennials and Gen Z is that plant-based alternatives are expensive! During a season where I cut out dairy-based drinks, I ended up cutting dairy-based alternatives as well because oat milk is $$$$. Perhaps this isn’t as much of an issue for Gen X or Boomers who either have more spending power, or who would rather spend a lot in the short-term than spend a lot on their health in the long term.
Nicholas: I think I will go bankrupt if I change my daily meals to plant-based meats. I hope that prices will go down in the near future.
43% of Baby Boomers are open to eating plant-based meats, compared to 35-37% of Singaporean Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. Nearly a third of Millenials on the other hand, aren’t as willing to choose plant-based meat substitutes compared to around a quarter for other generations.
Nicholas: Let’s say I go makan at this place that offers a plant-based meat option, but it's way more expensive compared to normal meat so why should I spend the extra $$$?
Diane: One word: inflation.
Nicholas: You can say that what I put in my body is driven by how much is left inside my wallet, but it’s not like picking plant-based meats means I am eating a healthier option either.
Diane: Agreed lor. All-veggie yong tau fu is a more affordable meatless option than an Impossible burger.
Nicholas: I guess in the end, it’s all about moderation lah. Can’t be stuffing myself with buffets all the time (even though that would be the dream). Belly growing bigger so I need to work out more.
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