Although the beneficial health effects of plant-based dietary patterns are evident, it is not clear if population-wide dietary patterns are shifting in a more plant-based direction. This study evaluated trends in dietary patterns among Flemish adults over a 10-year period. Furthermore, differences in socio-demographic characteristics between different dietary pattern groups were explored.
A time series design, during which five different representative cohorts (2011, 2013, 2016, 2018 and 2020; N = 4859) were surveyed through an online questionnaire, was used to evaluate trends in dietary patterns over the past decade.
Findings show that the vast majority of participants were omnivorous as measured at the different time points. The proportion of flexitarians increased over time, while the opposite was true for omnivores. The proportion of vegetarians and vegans, on the other hand, remained stable. Eating more plant-based diet was associated with female sex, younger age, higher education and living in urban areas.
In contrast to the stricter plant-based dietary patterns, a modest shift from the omnivorous towards the flexitarian dietary pattern was observed over the past decennium in the Flemish adult population. Campaigns might benefit from targeting older and lower educated male living in rural areas.