According to Mintel, over the past two years, the number of Brits who have eaten meat-free foods has grown from 50% in 2017 to 65% in 2019. And the sales of meat-free foods reflect that, having grown 40% from 2014 (£582 million) to 2019 (£816 million). Mintel expects that as demand increases, sales are expected to reach £1.1 billion by 2024.
The proportion of meat eaters who have reduced or limited the amount of meat they consume has risen from 28% in 2017 to 39% in 2019. However, meat remains a staple of the UK diet, with 88% of Brits eating red meat/poultry.
In addition, there has been no significant increase in the proportion of consumers who say they are vegan since 2018, with those following a vegan diet still only equating to around 1% of the UK population. Interestingly, almost a quarter (23%) of all new UK food product launches in 2019 were labeled as vegan, compared to 17% in 2018, according to data from Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD).
When asked about the benefits of eating less meat, 32% of those reducing their meat intake said that it “helps to improve health,” followed by 31% who responded, “it’s a good way to save money.” In addition, 25% cited “improving the environment” as a benefit of cutting back their meat intake.
“Whilst the health benefits of eating less meat appear to still be the primary motivation of flexitarian consumers, the environmental impact of the meat industry has also become an important reason for meat avoidance,” said Kate Vlietstra, Mintel global food and drink analyst, in a press release. “Gen Z consumers (aged 16–24) are leading the charge here, with over half (54%) of under 25s seeing the reduction of animal products as a good way to lessen humans’ impact on the environment.”
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