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Shoppers in France eating meat less regularly, reveals survey

Was the drop linked to environmental, health or economic concerns?

Meat consumption in France is falling due to increased prices and worries about the environment Pic: Nitr / Shutterstock

People in France are eating meat less regularly, a new survey shows.  

The poll reveals 57% of respondents have reduced their consumption over the last three years.

While an overwhelming majority (97%) say they eat meat “from time to time”, the frequency has fallen.

The survey, carried out by Harris Interactive in March, showed 27% of respondents eat meat every day -  a 6% point drop compared with two years ago. 

Similarly, the proportion of people that say they only eat meat once a week has increased, from 56% in 2021 to 62% now.

The majority cited rising inflation as the reason behind their change in habits.

Two years ago, health was the number one explanation for eating less meat. Now, that is been pushed into second place by economic reasons.

Food prices in France rose by 15.8% in March, compared with a year ago, the French statistics agency Insee states. 

Environmental concerns have had an impact too.

Read also: Meat substitute products can no longer use ‘meat’ terms, France rules

Overall, 88% of respondents said they were “very largely concerned” by environmental issues. 

When it came to reasons for consuming less meat, animal welfare (35%) and bad for the environment (35%) came joint-third behind health (37%) and saving money (58%).  

The survey showed public awareness campaigns are having an impact: only 40% of those interviewed said meat should be eaten every day, while 80% saw pulses and vegetables as good sources of protein.

More outside intervention needed

The survey also showed that people expect the French authorities and supermarkets to encourage people to eat less and better quality meat. 

For example, 81% thought a vegetarian option should be available in school canteens every day, or at least twice a week, while 85% are in favour of measures limiting intensive farming techniques. Furthermore, 83% want the government to ban adverts for products that harm the environment and people’s health the most. 

Overall, those interviewed want the state to do more, with 55% saying the state is acting, but not enough and 30% that it is not acting at all.

Supermarkets are not exempt either, with 89% wanting supermarkets to offer more ethically-raised meat, 83% wanting more organic meat and 82% simply want meat raised using intensive farming techniques to be withdrawn from the shelves. 

Amid economic concerns, 88% wanted supermarket brands to cut their margins on organic brands to make them cheaper.

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