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    Meat-free food sales rose by 40% between 2014-19

    20 January 2020

    Over the past two years, the number of Brits who have eaten meat-free foods has risen from 50% in 2017 to 65% in 2019. In the same period, sales of meat-free foods have grown by 40%. 

    According to Mintel research, 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. Women are more likely than men to have limited/reduced the amount of meat in their diets (42% compared to 36%); this rises to 45% among all under-45s. But, while the meat-free market is thriving, 38% of non-users would prefer to substitute meat with other ingredients such as cheese or pulses, rather than buy meat substitutes.

    Depsite this, meat remains a cornerstone of Britons’ diets, with 88% still eating red meat/poultry. This comes as research from Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) reveals that 23% of all new UK food product launches in 2019 were labelled as vegan, compared to 17% in 2018. However, there has been no significant increase in the proportion of consumers who say they are vegan since 2018, according to Mintel research, with those following a vegan diet still only equating to around 1% of the UK population.

    Commenting on the report findings, Kate Vlietstra, Mintel Global Food & Drink Analyst, said: “The rising popularity of flexitarian diets has helped to drive demand for meat-free products. Many consumers perceive that plant-based foods are a healthier option, and this notion is the key driver behind the reduction in meat consumption in recent years.

    “As the meat-free market becomes increasingly crowded, brands will need to find more ways to distinguish themselves from their competitors – it is no longer enough to just be meat-free. Companies will need to be transparent about the healthiness of their products, and also address the quality and quantity of nutrients to win over consumers. Meat-free products are generally aimed towards you500彩票网安全下载ng professionals, who tend to be receptive to trying new foods, but we are also likely to see these products targeted at both children and over-55s in the future.  As food education within schools improves, it seems that the meat-free food market is missing a trick by not targeting children and families. Meanwhile, over-55s are likely to be attracted to functional health claims and clean labels.”

    Mintel research also highlights a strong awareness of environmental issues linked to meat production, as 48% of British consumers see reducing consumption of animal products as a good way to lessen humans’ impact on the environment. Meanwhile, environmentally-friendly packaging would prompt 75% of meat-free users/buyers to buy one meat-free food product over another.

    When asked about the benefits of eating less meat, ‘improving the environment’ is cited by 25% of those cutting back; but the top reason given by nearly one-third of those cutting back is that it ‘helps to improve health’, followed closely by ‘it’s a good way to save money’ (31%).


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