Opportunities and bottlenecks for sustainable food

Carnivorous Flemish unwilling to pay more for sustainable meat

By Oliver Nieburg contact

- Last updated on GMT

Flemish consumers are open to meat alternatives, but won't pay more, say researchers
Flemish consumers are open to meat alternatives, but won't pay more, say researchers
Flemish people are reluctant to pay more for sustainable meat and meat alternatives, according to new research.

A study by Vanhonacker et al.​ in the journal Appetite ​found that while Flemish people are open to meat substitutes, organic meat, moderation of meat consumption and sustainable fish, they are not prepared to pay a premium.

The study was intended to discover attitudes to curbing meat consumption in order to reduce the ecological impact of animal production.

“It will be a challenge to change meat consumption behaviour as numerous barriers exist including preconceptions towards vegetarian diets, habits and prices,”​ said the study.

The researchers conducted a cross-sectional online survey with 221 participants from the northern Dutch-speaking part of Belgium.

Reducing meat consumption was considered the preferred alternative; followed by eating sustainably-farmed fish, lower environmental impact meat such as chicken and game and organic meat.

Premium more acceptable for organic meat

“Figures were clearly less positive when it concerned willingness to pay a price premium. Only for the consumption of organic meat, a positive willingness to pay was registered,”​ said the study.

“This could be explained by the participants familiarity with the price premium for organic products, as well as by consumers’ strong beliefs about both environmental and personal health benefits from organic food consumption,”​ it continued.

The organic meat market in Belgium accounts for just 0.6% of total meat sales, much lower than the average level across Europe.

Meat alternatives

Hybrid meat products (where meat is partly substituted by plant-based ingredients) and meat substitutes such as tofu have a very low market share in Europe, according to the researchers.

The found that consumers were slightly willing to consume hybrid meat products, but were largely negative about plant-based meat substitutes and proteins from insects.

“Opportunities of introducing insects currently appear to be non-existent,” ​said the researchers.

Belgian consumers have one of the highest ecological footprints in Europe. According to Global Footprint Network the average footprint for a Belgian consumer is 7.11 global hectares/person compared to 4.72 for the average European.

Most participants in the study were unwilling to pay taxes for unsustainable meat products, which could dampen potential policies to influence consumption of meat.

Appetite​, Volume 62, 1 March 2013, Pages 7–16
‘Flemish consumer attitudes towards more sustainable food choices’
Authors: Filiep Vanhonacker, Ellen J. Van Loo, Xavier Gellynck, Wim Verbeke

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Behind Every Kitchen Masterpiece

Behind Every Kitchen Masterpiece

Kancor Ingredients Limited | 03-Oct-2017 | Application Note

These days most people love cooking and experiencing new cuisines thanks to their exposure to different global cuisines. Here we are presenting two of...


Reconcile surimi with better-for-you!

Jungbunzlauer | 18-Sep-2017 | Technical / White Paper

Are you looking for the latest solutions to make your surimi product healthier or to improve its texture? Discover smart and easy to use ingredients for...

Reaping the rewards of supply chain visibility

Reaping the rewards of supply chain visibility

Dassault Systems Ltd | 05-Sep-2017 | Technical / White Paper

Despite the challenges in food production, sales and demands aren't slowing down. As complexity increases, there's no telling where the next...

Related suppliers

1 comment


Posted by Ab,

Stop eating meat daily for the sake of good health of yourself as well as your pocket. Cook most time at home nice Indian Vegetable Curries...

Report abuse

Follow us

Featured Events

View more


View more