Research of 2,000 adults who eat meat found 46 per cent have previously turned their nose up at ‘different’ foods, only to be surprised by the flavour when they actually try them.
Nearly half (48 per cent) confessed they wouldn’t generally consider a meal to be ‘complete’ unless it contained meat, while 38 per cent were doubtful about eating plant-based alternatives altogether.
However, of those who were pleasantly surprised by meat substitutes, meat-free sausages, plant-based mince and beef-style burgers were considered the tastiest.
While others admitted to enjoying dairy-free ice cream and chocolate, chicken-style nuggets and meat-free sausage rolls.
Researchers at The No Meat Company, which also commissioned the study, put three devout meat eaters to the test to see if they enjoyed the taste of plant-based alternatives when trying them for the first time.
The video shows participants’ shock when tucking into meat-free sausages, sausage rolls and chicken-style wraps.
Neville Tam, from the brand, said: “There are sometimes preconceptions around plant-based foods, but our study shows that even the biggest meat fans can be pleasantly surprised by the taste and texture of meat alternatives.
“With so many great options now available on the market, it’s easier than ever before to include plant-based alternatives in your everyday food shop.
“Meat-free meal choices can be kinder to the planet, and in many cases better for you too.”
The study also found 36 per cent of meat eaters automatically assume they won’t like a meal unless it contains either meat, fish or dairy produce.
And seven in 10 are ‘convinced’ they could tell the difference between a plant-based or vegetarian sausage, and a meat one.
Of those who aren’t persuaded by the alternatives on the market, 36 per cent say savoury is the hardest to get right.
While 38 per cent think all foods are difficult to replicate regardless of whether they are sweet or otherwise.
However, despite the scepticism, 63 per cent of those polled via OnePoll recognise that eating plant-based foods is important for helping the environment.
When it comes to eating less meat, the top motivator was it being a healthier choice (31 per cent), followed by the environmental impact (28 per cent) and animal welfare (22 per cent).
A savvy 22 per cent thought plant-based eating would be more cost-effective while 21 per cent believe the taste was just as good as meat.
And three in 10 already consider themselves to be flexitarian – reducing their intake of animal products, but not ruling them out entirely.
A further 19 per cent are thinking about this route for the future, and the average respondent already has a meat-free meal twice a week.
Of these, the most popular plant-based evening meals include salads (31 per cent), stir fry dishes (26 per cent) and soups (25 per cent).
While 24 per cent will opt for a pizza with vegan or veggie toppings, and 19 per cent will make a vegetarian chilli.
Although 33 per cent of those polled admit they don’t yet eat more plant-based or vegetarian food due to liking meat too much.
Three in 10 enjoy dairy and 24 per cent still have reservations about the texture and flavour of meat substitutes.
Neville Tam added: “The research highlights there is still a way to go in changing people’s perception of meat-free food, but when people do make simple swaps to their everyday meals, they are often pleasantly surprised.
“Switching out meat for plant-based even once or twice a week can make a huge difference, with small steps towards a lifestyle that is better for the planet and for your health.”
Foods adults are most likely to be pleasantly surprised by
Dairy free ice cream
Dairy free chocolate
Meat- free sausage roll
Meat- free meatballs
Dairy free cheese
Plant-based kebab meat
Plant-based savoury pastries
Plant-based sweet pastries