Research shows British meat consumption levels are changing

Research shows British meat consumption levels are changing

New research conducted by Mintel has found that 28% of meat-eating Brits have reduced or limited their meat consumption in the six months to March, with a further 14% of adults also saying they are interested in limiting or reducing their consumption of meat or poultry in the future.

Steak on plate

According to Mintel, some Brits are being influenced to eat less red meat and poultry by media campaigns and bloggers.

According to Mintel, 9% of Brits surveyed said they do not eat red meat or poultry, with Brits under the age of 25 being twice as likely to be non-meat eaters, as 19% of this age group said they do not eat red meat or poultry, with women accounting for 25% of the category.

A belief amongst some consumers that eating less meat is more healthy was attributed as the main reason for 49% of Brits interested or who are already limiting or reducing meat consumption, with weight management being the second most popular, at 29%.

Concerns over animal welfare and the environment each resonated with 24% of Mintel’s respondents.

In the non-meat eating category, animal welfare is the number one reason for giving up meat for 54% of respondents, however, environmental benefits was found to be the leading factor for the category’s under-25s.

According to Mintel, this group is the only one more likely to avoid meat for environmental reasons, at 29%, as opposed to concerns over animal welfare, at 22%.

Emma Clifford, senior food analyst at Mintel, said: “The ethical card in terms of helping to maintain a green planet is a powerful one for meat-free brands to play, particularly now that the issue is attracting a lot of attention.

“Flagging up that consumers are making a choice which is good for the environment and which can help to create a greener future in the long-term is likely to be a persuasive selling point.”

Media influence

Mintel’s research has also indicated that meat reduction campaigns have in part influenced eating habits, as 39% of meat limiters or reducers say that campaigns, such as Meat-free Mondays, have made them more aware of the benefits of eating less meat

Online bloggers and vloggers were also shown to have some impact, as 16% of respondents said that advice from healthy-eating bloggers, such as Deliciously Ella, is encouraging them to reduce the amount of meat they eat, rising to 29% of those who have already reduced or limited their meat consumption.

Clifford added: “The flexitarian trend carves a very accessible and unrestricted middle ground between simply meat-eaters and non-meat eaters, while acknowledging a conscious effort to eat less meat.”

In the meantime, volume sales in the meat-free foods market grew 2% year-on-year, while rising average prices saw value sales jump 4% to £559 million.

Overall, 50% of UK adults in the Mintel research have eaten meat-free foods in the six months to March, with 38% having eaten vegetable-based products, 32% bean-based products and 26% nut-based products.

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