The sharp rise in plant-based food sales in the UK has not led to a similar drop in meat sales, a new study has found.
Researchers from the University of Surrey looked at UK supermarket sales during Veganuary 2021. They found that average weekly sales of plant-based foods increased by 57%. However, there was no reciprocal reduction in those of meat.
“Our study suggests that while retail-led campaigns are leading to increased sales of plant-based products, we are not yet seeing large-scale meat replacement, which is essential for progress towards healthy and healthy diets. sustainable,” said Joanna Trewern, lead author of the study. study.
Trewern also argued that retailers “have an important role to play in enabling the adoption of healthier and more sustainable diets for consumers.”
She added: “It’s great to see them taking action, but more is needed to reduce our addiction to meat and dairy.”
The rise of vegetable products
According to the report, sales of plant-based foods have increased the most in supermarkets and in low-income areas. According to the researchers, this indicates that retailers are succeeding in making vegan and vegetarian products more affordable.
A number of discount supermarkets offer their own range of budget herbal products. Aldi and Lidl are key examples, with the former’s Plant Kitchen range enjoying particular success. In 2021, Aldi recorded a 250% increase in sales of its vegan range compared to the previous year.
The plant-based food industry was valued at $29.4 billion in 2020. And it is predicted to reach over $162 billion by 2030. It is believed to account for 7.7% of the market protein world at that time.
Flexitarians are driving the market
According to a 2021 report, plant-based food companies like Oatly, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are driving the change. But non-vegan companies like Kellogs and Nestlé have also joined in, expanding their own plant-based lines in recent months.
The growth of plant-based foods is partly driven by the rise of veganism. But it can also be attributed to the large number of people who describe themselves as “flexitarians”.
Flexitarianism generally includes those who avoid eating meat most of the time, but who are not entirely vegan or vegetarian. It is believed that around 16% of UK consumers consider themselves to be flexitarians. This is compared to six percent who are vegetarian and four percent who are vegan.
Why do people give up meat?
Many people stop eating meat for animal cruelty reasons. But a growing number are also doing so for environmental reasons.
Livestock is responsible for at least 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions. It is also one of the main causes of deforestation, biodiversity loss and resource depletion.
The National Food Strategy has recommended a minimum 30% reduction in meat consumption to support the UK’s net zero commitment. However, many experts have come up with more dramatic cuts.
A 2018 study from the University of Oxford, for example, said beef consumption must be reduced by 90% in the Western world to avoid climate collapse.
“For there to be any chance of meeting the UK’s climate change targets, government, food businesses, civil society, scientists and healthcare professionals must urgently work together to implement action plans and policies that can bring about rapid and lasting change,” Trewern said.
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