Health concerns behind 20% rise in meat-free Britons

The meat-free market in the UK has grown by 20 per cent over the past five years, fuelled for the most part by concerns about health.

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.”

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