23 Jan 2020

Mintel research shows that nearly a quarter of all new food products launched last year were labelled vegan, while two-thirds of Britons chose to eat meat substitutes.

The new figures show the unstoppable rise of plant-based foods across the UK as new products and awareness drive consumer demand for vegan food. Sales of meat-free foods have grown by a whopping 40% to be worth an estimated £816m in 2019.

However, as in previous research the increase appears to be driven by flexitarians, those who cut down on meat for many meals but will occasionally eat red meat or poultry, rather than any huge increase in vegans, as those following a vegan diet still only make up about 1% of the popularity.

What's driving the popularity of plant-based food? When asked about the benefits of eating less meat, 25% of consumers cited improving the environment, while 32% said it helped to improve health and 31% said it saved them money.

Kate Vlietstra, Mintel global food and 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.”