Brits continue to reduce meat intake

04/09/2018 - 09:29
In the last six months alone, over a quarter of meat-eating Brits have admitted to ‘reducing or limiting’ their meat intake – fuelling the on-going trend for vegan and vegetarianism.

With sales of meat-free products up 4% to £559 million since 2016, consultancy company Pragma predicts it will continue to grow by ‘almost a fifth’ by 2021.

And it’s not only plant-based dieters to blame - there are now 22 million flexitarians in the UK as well as an increasing number of pescatarians.

Attributing growth to five key factors, the company said:

Perceived dangers of eating too much meat

Half of Brits who have reduced their meat consumption believe that eating too much meat is bad for their health. With increased media coverage on the cancer-causing effects of meat-heavy diets, a major factor for the increased demand in meat-free foods are the perceived health benefits.

Meat-Free Campaigns

Campaigns such as "Meat Free Mondays" or "Veganuary" have gained popularity. Only 3,300 people participated in Veganuary in 2014, increasing to 168,000 participants this year (and that was only those who enrolled online).

Influence of Social Media

Instagram is the go-to place for food inspiration and #vegan has been used in over 57 million posts. A further 16% cite vloggers (such as Deliciously Ella and the Hemsley sisters) as their influence to reduce the amount of meat they eat.

Supermarkets Go Vegan

Supermarkets are expanding their meat-free ranges. For example, Waitrose increased its vegan/vegetarian range by 60%; Tesco has launched plant-based steak; and Sainsbury's has introduced meat and dairy-free burgers - placing them alongside meat products to encourage shoppers to try them.

Role models

Celebrities are increasingly backing the "flexitarian" diet and challenging their millions of followers to try a more plant-based lifestyle. This includes athletes such as tennis player Novak Djokovic and footballers Chris Smalling and Lionel Messi, as well as singer Beyoncé, who developed the "22 Days Nutrition" meal planner.

With meat-free brand Quorn registering a 16% increase in global sales in 2017 - to £205 million – and foodservice outlets continuing to receive demand for plant-based dishes, the trend is clearly here to stay.

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