Flexitarians fuel vegan food sales

White asparagus vegan dish at Pied à Terre

Meat eaters are driving demand for vegan products as increasing numbers of people choose to supplement their diets with plant-based foods, according to new data.

Over the past two years, the proportion of meat eaters who have reduced the amount of meat they consume has risen by 10%, Mintel research reveals, with almost two-thirds of Britons now eating meat substitutes.

The trend for flexitarianism – a diet comprised predominantly of plant-based
food with some meat and fish – has seen sales of meat-free foods soar by 40%
since 2014, with almost a quarter of all UK food products launched in 2019
labelled as vegan.

‘While 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,’ says Mintel
food and drink analyst, Kate Vlietstra. 

‘Gen Z consumers, aged 16-24, are leading the charge here, with over half of
under 25s seeing the reduction of animal products as a good way to lessen humans’ impact on the environment.’

Waitrose & Partners has responded by adding more than 30 new own-label vegan products to its shelves, including No Egg Fried Rice made with tofu and Crisp- Crumbed Fishless Goujons containing banana blossom, a natural ingredient with a fleshy, flaky texture that mimics fish. 

‘Last year we saw veganism and plant-based diets making their way further into the mainstream and we see no signs of this slowing down,’ says Partner and vegan food developer, Simona Cohen-Vida-Welsh.

‘As such, we’ve doubled our vegan and vegetarian range with products not
seen on supermarket shelves before. This means that cutting down on meat has never been easier.’

By Daniel Tapper
Published January 2020