Ieben Broeckhoven, Wim Verbeke, Juan Tur-Cardona, Stijn Speelman, Yung Hung

Food Quality and Preference, Volume 89, April 2021

In order to prevent protein malnutrition in the midst of environmental challenges, this study offers insight into more sustainable ways of increasing older adults’ (≥65) protein intake in Europe.

A choice experiment (n = 2159) was conducted in five European countries (the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Poland, Finland, and Spain).

The model shows that the majority of older adults accept protein-enriched burgers. Overall they prefer red meat and poultry above plant-based burgers. For red meat and poultry burgers, older adults prefer products with carbon labels indicating a lower environmental impact. Four consumer segments were identified. The largest segment (41%), “Meatlovers”, are not likely to change their red meat and poultry consumption. However, carbon labeling entails some opportunities. “Eco-friendly” consumers (28%) are willing to consume protein from more sustainable sources and herewith constitute the primary target group. “Poultry lovers” (12%) are most likely to shift their protein consumption based on health-related motives. Further research is recommended to identify sustainable protein-rich products for older adults who dislike burgers (19%).

Subsequent consumer profiling indicates that intentions to consume sustainable protein-enriched burgers are associated with gender, country, importance attached to health, sustainability and familiarity, knowledge of protein, and environmental impact. In contrast, financial situation, importance attached to price, convenience, and sensory appeal are less relevant in shaping older adults’ preferences.

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