According to a Mintel survey, while only 7 per cent of Americans identify themselves as vegetarian, 36 per cent now say they buy meat substitutes.
Sales of alternative meat products like tofu have risen 8 per cent since 2010, reaching $553 million in 2012.
“The bottom line is that vegetarians and vegans aren’t the only people eating ‘fake’ meat,” said Beth Bloom, a food analyst at Mintel. “Meat-eaters are also exploring this newfound protein superpower.
Of the 2,000 people surveyed, most said they bought alternative meat products for health reasons. Cutting down on their meat intake was the second most popular reason, and taste was third.
“Health perception plays a large role in use of meat alternatives,” added Bloom. “One third of consumers indicate using products in the category because they are healthy, higher than any other reason measured in the report (including the reduction of meat consumption).”
The fake meat market has burgeoned in recent years, attracting high-profile investors such as Bill Gates and Sergei Brin.