More than a quarter of Britons are now meat-reducers, thanks to the efforts of campaigns such as Meat Free Monday, according to a new report.
Meat-Free Foods 2017, a report produced by market research company Mintel, reveals that 28% of British omnivores have cut back on the amount of meat they eat over the past six months. Another 14% said they would be interested in doing so in the future.
And the report confirms that Meat Free Monday has played a significant part in opening people’s eyes to the delights of meat free food, as well as to the dangers and downsides of meat-eating. Two-fifths (39%) of those who had cut back on their consumption of animal products put their increased awareness of the issues down to this campaign and others, such as Veganuary and National Vegetarian Week.
While just under half (49%) of those who are curbing their meat intake or were interested in doing so said it was for health reasons – followed by weight-loss (29%) and the environment joint third with animal welfare on 24% – it’s reassuring to see young people leading the way in terms of green eating. Sounding a positive note for the future of the planet, almost a third (29%) of meat-reducers under the age of 25 said their dietary choice was a climate-conscious one.
“A clear trend has emerged of people cutting back and limiting how much [meat and poultry] they eat,” said Mintel’s senior food analyst Emma Clifford. “That ‘flexitarianism’, a whole new dietary phrase, was coined to describe this movement also highlights its indisputably mainstream status. The flexitarian trend carves a very accessible and unrestricted middle ground between simply meat-eaters and non-meat eaters, while acknowledging a conscious effort to eat less meat.”
Clifford suggested that meat free brands were likely to benefit from the power of the green-eating argument, particularly now that meat-reducing is rapidly becoming more mainstream. “Flagging up that consumers are making a choice which is good for the environment and which can help to create a greener future in the long-term is likely to be a persuasive selling point,” she said.
The value of the meat free foods market is set to hit £572 million this year, climbing to almost £660 in 2021, meaning it will have increased by almost a fifth since 2016. The trend has been driven by consumers becoming more informed about what they put into their supermarket trollies and onto their forks, as well as the growing availability of delicious and nutritious meat free grub.