Consumption of animal fats is on the rise, and the trend is led by millennials, according to a new survey from Coast Packing Company and Ipsos Research.
About 13% of all survey respondents said they would be willing to consume animal fats, up 9% from last year. Also, 9% of respondents said they increased their consumption of animal fats, an uptick of over 6% of respondents the year before.
Millennials showed an even bigger increase in consuming animal fats, increasing to 24% from the 15% who had eaten them last year. One in five millennials said they ate more animal fats this year, over just 13% last year.
Animal fats that were once taboo have resurfaced as public opinion of the healthiness of them has evolved. Fat products include lard and tallow in their natural, minimally-processed form, without the addition of artificial trans fats that hydrogenated shortenings often contain.
This drastic shift in perception of animal fat comes in part from the discovery that the sugar industry may have manipulated research that said fats were unhealthy. Health experts and the federal government based their long-held recommendations that consumers should avoid saturated fats off of these studies. But more recent research implicates that the sugar industry skewed these results to shift the blame for heart disease and other chronic illnesses.
Other recent studies have found that it may be better for consumers to embrace rather than avoid saturated fats, particularly in meat and full-fat dairy, which has also seen a resurgence. As fat bounces back and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration redefines the term “healthy” to allow saturated fats in better-for-you products, manufacturers may be more likely to add ingredients like lard and tallow to their recipes to offer in-demand health benefits.