A significant number of Britons are actively trying to reduce their meat intake.
According to research commissioned by plant-based food brand Strong Roots, almost half of Britons (47%) have tried to reduce their meat intake at some point, and over one-third (36%) feel guilty when they eat meat.
However, 69% of respondents said they ‘love’ meat, and 33% reported they cannot make it through the day without eating meat.
When the British population does attempt to cut out meat products for good, temptation is regarded the biggest reason for falling off the wagon. Of the 2,000 adults surveyed, over one-quarter (27%) said they struggled to ‘resist the lure’ of fast food, of appealing meat dishes when eating out of home, or the sight of family members eating meaty meals in the home.
And of the meat products consumers said they would most miss on a vegan or vegetarian diet, respondents listed bacon as the clear leader (20%), followed by beef steak (15%) and sausages (14%).
Scratch and sniff bacon tech
UK plant-based brand Strong Roots is hoping to help consumers wean themselves off meat, which a company spokesperson told FoodNavigator is perceived to be a significant challenge.
“We conducted research which showed that many people struggle reducing their meat consumption. The figures showed that one in six (17.5%) of the adult population believe that giving up meat is a tougher challenge than giving up cigarettes (15.2%) or alcohol (15.1%).”
The research also revealed that 30% believe there should be more support for those trying to cut out meat.
“As a plant-based brand that wants to support those making plant-based choices, Strong Roots wants to raise awareness of this issue in an engaging way,” we were told.
Strong Roots’ solution is a ‘meat patch’ inspired by nicotine patches. Intended to be worn on the arm, the patches contain a bacon scent – sourced from a supplier of commercial aromas – which is activated by scratch and sniff technology.
The patch was inspired by insights from the University of Oxford’s professor of experimental psychology, Charles Spence.
The professor’s research shows that our sense of smell is strongly connected to our ability to taste, and that there is evidence to suggest that experiencing food-related cues, such as smelling a bacon aroma, could lead us to imagine the act of eating that food, Strong Roots’ spokesperson told this publication.
“We wanted to explore whether having the smell of bacon on a patch while eating might help consumers imagine eating meat, help them feel sated and manage their cravings.”
For Professor Spence, the potential success of a ‘smelly strategy’ is supported by several lines of evidence, including everything from work on sensory-specific satiety – the idea that repeated exposure to the colour, taste, or smell of food can lead to satiation – through to more recent work on embodied mental simulation.
“According to the latter notion, experiencing food-related cues, such as, for example, smelling a bacon aroma, can lead us to imagine the act of eating that food. Imagine eating enough bacon and you really might find yourself sated,” he noted.
“However, in order to be really effective, my suspicion is that one may want to combine that highly-desirable food aroma with actually eating something.”
Strong Roots has not conducted scientific trials, and therefore cannot prove the efficacy of the patches. However, the company has requested ‘anecdotal feedback’ from consumers testing the patch samples in cities around the UK.