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Health concerns behind 20% rise in meat-free Britons

The meat-free market in the UK has grown by 20 per cent over the past five years, fuelled for the most part by concerns about health.

Posted : 15 October 2012

According to market research company Mintel, 15 per cent of Britons now avoid red meat – the majority for health and lifestyle reasons, 2 per cent due to allergy or intolerance – while 6 per cent describe themselves as vegetarian.

“Perfectly positioned to thrive in the current climate, meat-free foods benefit from a cost, health, ethical and environmental stand, as well as providing variety in consumer diets,” said Amy Price, a senior food and drink analyst at Mintel. “The rising cost of meat has propped up past performance and could act as a boost to the meat-free market in the future.”

According to the research, 38 per cent of Britons say they have bought meat-free meals, 13 per cent because of cost.

The meat-free market is estimated to be worth £607 million, with ready meals accounting for a third of sales.

“The sizable group of health-conscious consumers are ripe for targeting through vegetarian or meat-free food and meat substitutes, possibly along the lines of ‘stealth health’,” said Price, “encouraging families to swap a meat-based meal for one that is vegetarian and therefore better for them.”

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