World Vegan Day: Third of Brits now trying to eat less meat

One in eight people in the UK are now vegan or vegetarian

Olivia Petter
Thursday 01 November 2018 10:40 GMT
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A third of Britons have stopped or reduced eating meat in the last five years, a new survey has found.

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

Released on World Vegan Day, the supermarket's report comes just one day after the former editor of Waitrose Food magazine, William Sitwell, resigned after he joked about publishing a series of articles on “killing vegans”.

The annual food and drink survey is based on OnePoll consumer research of 2,000 people across Britain, not just those who shop in Waitrose, and is supported by data from focus groups and purchases made in Waitrose shops and online.

In addition to the increasing prevalence of vegan and vegetarianism, the report also reveals a surge in flexitarianism, also known as semi-vegetarianism, whereby someone eats meat or fish only occasionally; according to the findings, 21 per cent of Brits now follow this diet.

“Being mindful of how we live and eat has become a priority in today’s world," comments Rob Collins, managing director at Waitrose.

"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 quadrupled between 2014 and 2018.

According to Waitrose's report, the most common reason for the surge is concerns over animal welfare, with 55 per cent of respondents citing this at their motivation.

Meanwhile, 45 per cent said they became vegan or vegetarian because they thought it was healthier while 38 per cent made the change out of "environmental concerns" - participants could choose more than one option.

The rising number of people shunning meat and dairy products from their diets was also evident in the items listen in the report's most popular foods, which include miso, kefir and jackfruit - a popular meat substitute.

According to Collins, the findings reflect a "consumer revolution".

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