Nearly 30% of UK Meals Now Meat-Free as Veganism Becomes ‘Mainstream’

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New data by research group Kantar World Panel has revealed that more than a quarter of evening meals consumed in the UK in 2017 contained no meat or fish. In fact, Britons consumed 200 million more meat-free meals in the past year.

According to Kantar World Panel, plant-based diets are becoming “mainstream”. An impressive 29% of evening meals now consumed are said to be free of meat and fish, a figure that has “grown consistently” in recent years.

From November 2016 to October 2017, Britons consumed 4.3 billion meat-free evening meals. However, it’s not just vegetarianism on the rise. When compared to 2015, last year the UK consumed 87 million more “entirely vegan-friendly meals”.

Additionally, dairy-free milk and cheese “are in double digit growth, and attracting new shoppers”. Dairy alternative cheese, especially, has grown “an incredible 80%” in one year alone.

Certain produce has seen improved popularity; spinach sales went up 43%, while aubergine and cherries were boosted 23% and 25% respectively.

Kantar named these dietary shifts as the “natural result” of changing public attitudes about health. “Our ideas about what’s healthy are also changing – we’re more focussed on foods that are natural and less processed, and eating a varied diet,” Usage expert Richard Allen said.

“High profile celebrities and social media influencers are also raising awareness and promoting eating less or no meat as a healthy lifestyle choice,” Allen added. Increasingly, celebs are touting the benefits of veganism for health, ethical or environmental purposes. Mya, Ne-Yo and, among many others, have all recently spoken up about their vegan lifestyles.

The research group also credited this year’s ‘Veganuary’ for the shift in shopping habits, as a record number of people around the world took the pledge to go vegan for all of January.

This surge in participants is of notable importance; Veganuary surveys conducted 6 months after the pledge revealed that, of the individuals trialing meat- and dairy-free for the month, 67% had remained vegan.