The changing preferences of Dutch consumers for meat and fish are investigated using a switching almost ideal demand system. Structural change in demand between January 1994 and May 1998 is decomposed into underlying trends, temporarily irreversible preference shifts triggered by the BSE crisis of March 1996, and a “panic” reaction against beef in the month of the crisis itself. Preference shifts due to the BSE scare reduced expenditure shares for beef, minced meat and meat products by 2.5, 3.3 and 7.9 percentage points respectively. There were offsetting gains in the shares of pork, prepared meat and fish. Taking underlying trends also into account, changing preferences over the whole period reduced beefs share by 4.9 percentage points and increased those of poultry, prepared meat and fish by 4.1, 4.9 and 5.2 percentage points respectively.