Third of Britons will cook a meat free Christmas meal

Survey shows increasing numbers preparing vegetarian or vegan food this festive season

Christmas strudel and two sparkly Christmas table scenes

Meat-reducers once found it the hardest day of the year to cope with but it seems the festive pendulum is swinging in the direction of a healthier, more nutritious and planet-friendly Christmas Day. A new survey has found that a third of Britons will be tossing away the turkey and spurning the sausages in favour of cooking a meat free meal on December 25.

A OnePoll survey of 2,000 people from across Britain conducted at the start of the month on behalf of Sainsbury’s found that 32 per cent of people intend to cook a vegetarian or vegan meal for one or more people around the Christmas table.

Rather than serving up some unfortunate bird raised solely for the purpose, the centrepiece meal that will be carried to table – hopefully eliciting gasps of delight – will instead be a parsnip roulade, beetroot and squash wellington or Christmas savoury strudel.

The survey also found that 50 per cent of Britons will be tucking into more vegetables than ever before. The typical Christmas table will be laden with eight vegetable dishes, including the ubiquitous carrot (eaten by 86 per cent of people), sweet parsnip (66 per cent) and humble pea (48 per cent).

Seventy-seven per cent of people will also be dishing up the wonderful/repulsive (delete as applicable) sprout, which sells by the carload at this time of year – 450 carloads, in fact. Sainsbury’s says it will shift 900 tonnes’ worth in the run-up to the big day.

“For many, the Christmas dinner is a traditional meal focused around the turkey, but with the rise of ‘flexitarianism’ there is demand for a wide range of exciting vegetarian choices for Christmas,” said Susi Richards, the supermarket’s head of product development for food. “Vegetarian dishes are no longer an afterthought but centre of attention.”

The survey follows hot on the heels of news that the influential American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has given its resounding support to meat free eating, saying diets containing zero animal products could be “nutritionally adequate [and] appropriate for all stages of the life cycle”.

Click here for more festive meat free menus – and have a very happy meat free Christmas!