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Nearly one in four UK food products launched in 2019 were vegan

Sarah Young
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Almost a quarter of all new food products launched in the UK last year were labelled vegan, while nearly two-thirds of Britons chose to eat meat substitutes.

But, those following a vegan diet still only make up around one per cent of the UK population, figures show.

Over the past two years, the number of people choosing to consume food containing meat substitutes has risen from 50 per cent in 2017 to 65 per cent, Mintel said.

The market research company found that sales of meat-free foods have grown 40 per cent to an estimated £816 million in 2019.

Meanwhile, the proportion of meat eaters who have reduced or limited the amount of meat they consume has risen from 28 per cent in 2017 to 39 per cent in 2019.

Despite the increasing popularity of flexitarian diets – consisting of predominantly plant-based food with some meat and fish – Mintel found 88 per cent of Britons would still eat red meat or poultry.

The number of new UK food products labelled vegan has risen from 17 per cent in 2018 to 23 per cent last year.

When asked about the benefits of eating less meat, 25 per cent of consumers cited improving the environment, while 32 per cent said it helped to improve health and 31 per cent said it saved them money.

Kate Vlietstra, global food and drink analyst at Mintel, 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.“

An increasing number of food brands have taken note of the rising interest in veganism by launching meat-free products aimed at plant-loving customers.

In 2019, Greggs made headlines after the launch of its vegan sausage roll helped drive a surge in customer numbers and bumper profits.

The high street bakers hopes to repeat the success with its meat-free steak bake, which launched across the UK in January.

January also saw the arrival of KFC’s first-ever vegan burger, which replaces chicken breast with a bespoke Quorn fillet, which is coated in the Colonel’s iconic Original Recipe herbs and spices.

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