A ‘consumer revolution’? One in three eating less meat

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A third of British people have either stopped eating meat or are eating less of it, according to new research.

Conducted by British supermarket Waitrose, the research reveals a huge shift in the UK’s eating habits. It also revealed that one in eight people now follow either a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Waitrose Managing Director Rob Collins described the trend as a “consumer revolution”.

‘Flexitarian’ diets growing too

OnePoll consumer research of 2,000 people across the UK supplied the data for the survey. However, not all respondents were Waitrose shoppers, and OnePoll also collected data from focus groups and Waitrose’s online purchases.

Along with the rise in veganism and vegetarianism, the report reveals a surge in ‘flexitarianism’. Also known as ‘semi-vegetarianism’, this is a trend whereby someone only eats meat or fish now and again. About 21 per cent of Brits are now flexitarians, according to the study.

What’s the motivation?

According to the report, the top reasons for reducing or giving up meat were:

  • Concern over animal welfare – 55 per cent of respondents.
  • Desire for a healthier lifestyle – 45 per cent.
  • “Environmental concerns” around meat consumption – 38 per cent.

Respondents were able to choose more than one option.

In addition, the shift away from meat and dairy products was matched by the items the report listed as the most popular foods. These included miso, kefir and jackfruit (a popular meat substitute).

‘The mindful consumer’

Reflecting on the research, and what it means for consumers, Rob Collins said: “Being mindful of how we live and eat has become a priority in today’s world.

“As we become increasingly mindful of our own health, the wellbeing of our family and that of the planet, we’re reshaping how we shop, cook and eat. Welcome to the era of the mindful consumer.”

The Vegan Society claims that the number of vegans globally quadrupled between 2014 and 2018.