According to market research company Mintel, 15 per cent of Britons now avoid red meat – the majority for health and lifestyle reasons, 2 per cent due to allergy or intolerance – while 6 per cent describe themselves as vegetarian.
“Perfectly positioned to thrive in the current climate, meat-free foods benefit from a cost, health, ethical and environmental stand, as well as providing variety in consumer diets,” said Amy Price, a senior food and drink analyst at Mintel. “The rising cost of meat has propped up past performance and could act as a boost to the meat-free market in the future.”
According to the research, 38 per cent of Britons say they have bought meat-free meals, 13 per cent because of cost.
The meat-free market is estimated to be worth £607 million, with ready meals accounting for a third of sales.
“The sizable group of health-conscious consumers are ripe for targeting through vegetarian or meat-free food and meat substitutes, possibly along the lines of ‘stealth health’,” said Price, “encouraging families to swap a meat-based meal for one that is vegetarian and therefore better for them.”