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Consumer Spending Patterns for Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

New AAEA member research published in AEPP

New research shows most households (68%) never purchased plant-based meat alternatives (PBMA) between 2014-2019. A large percentage (11%) tried PBMA only once, and about 20% purchased PBMA more than once. PBMA purchasers are wealthier and more highly-educated. When households first try PBMA, spending on meat does not decrease. PBMA spending drops by over 75% in months after a household first tries PBMA products – suggesting PBMA is not being incorporated in to diets regularly.

In the new article “Consumer spending patterns for plant-based meat alternatives” published in the Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, Joel Cuffey and Wenying Li from Auburn University, Lauren Chenarides from Arizona State University, and Shuoli Zhao from the University of Kentucky, find out who is buying plant-based meat and do they continue buying after they try it.

Cuffey says, “Our research has two main implications. First, most consumers were not incorporating PBMA products into their regular spending habits (through 2019, when our data ended). Second, spending on meat does not appear to be threatened by the availability of PBMA products.”

If you are interested in setting up an interview, please contact Allison Ware in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes three journals, the Journal of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (an open access journal), the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices and the online open access publication series Applied Economics Teaching Resources. To learn more, visit

Contact: Allison Ware
Senior Communications Manager
(414) 918-3190