10 stats on UK meat-free food consumption

A recent survey from global intelligence agency Mintel reveals the extent of meat-free growth in the last five years and a change in consumer habits.

4 February 2020
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  • Over the past two years, the number of UK consumers who have eaten meat-free foods has risen from 50% in 2017 to 65% in 2019.
  • Sales of meat-free foods have grown 40% from £582m in 2014 to close to £816m in 2019, with sales predicted to exceed £1.1bn by 2024.
  • The number of meat eaters to reduce or limit their meat intake has risen from 28% in 2017 to 39% in 2019.
  • 42% of the women surveyed have limited or reduced the amount of meat in their diets, compared to 36% of the men.
  • More than two-thirds (38%) of those not eating meat-free foods would, if they were to not eat meat, prefer to substitute in ingredients such as cheese and pulses rather than have a meat substitute.
  • While veganism and flexitarian diets are all the rage, 88% of UK consumers still eat red meat and/or poultry.
  • Almost half (48%) of consumers see reducing consumption of animal products as a good way to lessen humans’ impact on the environment
  • Meanwhile, 75% of meat-free consumers said that the presence of environmentally friendly packaging would be a deciding factor when choosing between two similar products.
  • Close to a third (32%) of consumers said that the main benefit of eating less meat is that it “helps to improve health”, with 31% saying it is a good way to save money.
  • 85% of those who had actively cut down on their meat intake in the last six months said that eating meat-free foods “makes them feel good”.


Kate Vlietstra, Mintel Global Food & 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.

“Whilst the health benefits of eating less meat appear to still be the primary motivation of flexitarian consumers, the environmental impact of the meat industry has also become an important reason for meat avoidance.

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