World Meat Free Week: A sneak-peek inside the UK's first vegan butchers

Customers given valuable cooking advice and recipe inspiration

Sarah Young
Thursday 20 June 2019 11:09
Sainsbury's launch UK's first meat-free butchers

The UK’s first vegan butchers is opening its doors to the public this week.

Launched by Sainsbury’s to coincide with World Meat Free Week which ends on 23 June, the three-day pop up in Bethnal Green, London, will look just like a conventional meat butchers at first glance.

However, the "meaty" cuts, joints and strings of sausages found in the shop will in fact be made from the likes of mushroom, jackfruit and even pea protein.

Customers who visit the East-End butchers from Friday 21 June will be able to choose from more than a dozen high quality fresh foods, including Cumberland Shroomdogs and Veggie Ribz.

The animal-free products will then be weighed and wrapped, ready for hungry shoppers to take home just like in a traditional store.

The in-store butcher will be specially trained for plant-based cooking, sharing recipe advice and tips to help customers get involved in World Meat Free Week, which encourages people to try more plant-based foods.

Among the vegan offerings, people will find Sweet & Smoky BBQ Pulled Jackfruit, Moroccon Vegbabs, Meat-Free Mince and Shroomballs – all of which will be sold at a discounted price.

Sainsbury’s decided to open the vegan butchers after it reported a 65 per cent increase in sales of plant-based products year-on-year.


The retailer hopes the store will highlight how far vegan food has come over the years and convince those who have never tried meat alternatives to get involved.

James Hamilton, a buyer for Sainsburys, said: "Whilst we’re seeing a huge climb in sales of our plant-based foods, we know from conversations with customers that there is a sense of trepidation about cooking with them.


"So, our Meat-Free Butchers has been launched to encourage people to get up close to the products, try what they like and take home some valuable cooking advice and recipe inspiration."

The launch follows a recent report which found that the majority of meat people eat will not come from dead animals by the year 2040.


Global consultancy firm AT Kearney conducted the report based on interviews with industry experts, who predict that 60 per cent of the meat products we consume in 2040 will either be plant-based replacements or cultured alternatives grown in vats.

The report suggests that the transition will be the result of a growing awareness of the environmental consequences of conventional meat farming methods and the rising demand for vegan alternatives.

Earlier this year, supermarket Iceland launched an in-store greengrocers that sold packaging-free fruit and vegetables as part of its efforts to eliminate plastic entirely by 2023.

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The trial, which launched in The Food Warehouse in North Liverpool, sold 35 loose items and 27 lines in plastic-free packaging such as compostable punnets, paper bags and cellulose nets.

The Meat-Free Butchers, by Sainsbury’s, will be located at 146 Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 6DG from 21 - 23 June, from 11am – 8pm on Friday, and 10am – 8pm on Saturday and Sunday.

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