Fewer and fewer people in the Netherlands see themselves as meat-eaters

Fewer and fewer people in the Netherlands see themselves as meat-eaters

According to a recent survey, the number of people in the Netherlands who classify themselves as meat-eaters continues to decline, with a third of all households planning to cut their meat intake in 2021. 

Fewer meat-eaters in the Netherlands in 2021

The Vegamonitor - an annual study published by non-profit organisation Natuur & Milieu - is designed to examine the eating habits of the people in the Netherlands and whether or not perspectives on different diets change over time. The 2021 study was conducted among more than 1.000 people. 

Past studies have unveiled a trend towards eating less meat, but the trend has been slow to progress. Now, however, as everyone enters 2021, Natuur & Milieu found a “significant decrease” in the number of people who classify themselves as meat-eaters: 55 percent in 2021 compared to 59 percent a year earlier. Furthermore, 34 percent of households plan on eating less meat in the new year. 31 percent said they had taken this decision in order to preserve the planet for future generations.

Similarly to 2020, 48 percent of people in the Netherlands think eating meat every day is an outdated concept, but only 33 percent think a meal would be incomplete without meat or fish compared to 60 percent in 2020. 56 percent of participants also observed that the amount of meat they eat had decreased over the past two years - quite surprising, considering the prominent role meat plays in traditional Dutch cuisine.

Significant concern for the environment among younger generations

The 2021 Vegamonitor was specifically designed to determine the role parents and children play in influencing the other to change their eating habits. The study found that people under the age of 40 are more likely to think that eating meat every day is outdated. And in one-fifth of households with children between the ages of 13 and 17, the parents said they had been inspired by their children to eat less meat. 

People under the age of 30 are most likely to cite environmental reasons for reducing their meat intake. Natuur & Milieu also discovered that children of 15 or 16 years of age are more likely to become vegetarian due to conversations about the (environmental) impact of the meat industry and the benefits of a meat-free diet at school. Younger children between the ages of 10 and 13 are more likely to be affected by discussions about animal cruelty in the meat and farming industries. 

“From this and the other data you can deduce that something is changing,” Natuur & Milieu says, “This young generation is aware of the impact of meat, acts accordingly and influences older generations.” Their research found that people under the age of 30 were twice as likely to be vegan or vegetarian.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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