Over 520,000 UK Christmas Dinners Will Be Vegan or Vegetarian This Year, Survey Finds

This Christmas, over 520,000 Brits will tuck into vegan and vegetarian meals, as more and more people choose plant-based foods over meat and dairy.

Tesco, the largest supermarket in the United Kingdom, analyzed sales and data from millions of shoppers. The researching team found that Brits’ favored ingredients are changing, with vegan and vegetarian meals, in particular, becoming more popular; one in 12 will pick a meat-free main this Christmas.

The popularity of plant-based Christmas mains has a “clear North-South divide,” Tesco stated in a press release. In Scotland, five percent of people will enjoy a vegan or vegetarian dinner for Christmas, whilst nine percent of families in the South will do the same. In Brighton – now named “the vegan capital of the UK” – 12 percent of families will enjoy a plant-based main meal on Christmas day.

The report also uncovered which ingredients are most valued during the holiday season, finding that Brussels sprouts are even more important in Christmas meals than pigs-in-blankets. Two-thirds (66 percent) of participants said the sprout was a vital addition to the dining table while a similarly high 71 percent said that carrots cannot be left out either.

Nearly one in five hosts will cater for a meat-free diner this Christmas, with twice as many families serving up a vegan or vegetarian main instead of goose.

And when shoppers do buy meat, they are buying less of it. Families are choosing smaller turkeys, with sales of large birds seeing a 7 percent decline.

Tesco’s report was created to celebrate “the many debates and rituals that make Christmas what it is for people up and down the country,” according to Alessandra Bellini, Tesco’s chief customer officer, as reported by Huffington Post.

“Our research found that, by and large, we’re still a nation of traditionalists – but with a third of people mixing things up at Christmas each year, that is changing,” Bellini added.

This shifting consumer market is inspiring the chain to launch new plant-based products. To celebrate the festive season, Tesco introduced vegan Iced Fruit Cake Slices, as well as christmas cake and yule log cake baking kits that are free from animal products.

Vegan pastry rolls, cauliflower Wellington, and a plant-based butternut squash entrée also joined Tesco supermarket shelves recently, in preparation for the upcoming holiday

If you’re looking for some festive food inspiration, Mint Velvet magazine offers some “crowd-pleasing” alternative Christmas dinner recipes inspired by London vegan restaurant chain Mildred’s. To learn more, see here.

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