More than a quarter of Britons are meat reducers

New research reveals 28 per cent of people now actively cutting down on the meat they eat

Aerial view of friends eating veggie food at a long table

The Scottish economist Adam Smith famously described England as a nation of shopkeepers, but it now seems Britain is turning into a nation of meat reducers. According to a new survey, 28 per cent of Britons now describe themselves as meat reducers – people who do eat meat but are actively choosing to consume less of it. The figure leaps to 32 per cent in London.

Commissioned by More Than Carrots, which describes itself as “the first veggie guide for meat eaters”, the research is the latest to highlight how Britons are becoming more discerning when it comes to their food, and how the national diet is becoming greener all the time.

In 2013, a survey for Eating Better – an alliance of organisations and campaigns, including MFM, dedicated to promoting greener eating – found that a quarter of us were cutting back on the amount of meat we ate; by 2017, the same survey showed half of the country was either eating less meat or willing to give it a go. MFM’s own research in 2015 suggested there may be more than 15 million meat reducers in the UK, while in 2016 the Vegetarian Society put the figure at three in 10.

The research data is available free on the website of More Than Carrots, which has created a list of restaurants to suit meat reducers using an algorithm that scores menus and customer reviews. The idea is to help match environment-minded omnivores with meat-free meals they want to eat, rather than having them settle for a meat dish on a night out because the single veggie option on the menu doesn’t do it for them. More than one in five people (22 per cent) surveyed disagreed that restaurants were making it easier for people to eat less meat, while 73 per cent have avoided or would avoid a restaurant because it was lacking in meat free offerings.

Vanilla Bean is also a great option if you’re hunting for a meat free meal. The free app and website, which has long been a supporter of MFM, helps hungry diners find vegan and veggie food near them, as well as pinpointing which restaurants can cater to their needs, whether it’s a hankering for organic food or a desire to eat gluten free.

More Than Carrots’ founder, Annette Burgard, credited MFM with helping increase the number of people being more selective in their food choices, and cutting down on their meat consumption with a view to helping the planet.

“Thanks to Meat Free Monday’s fantastic campaigns, a lot of people are now aware of the impact our diet has on the environment,” she said. “I changed my own habits because of this campaign and haven’t looked back. While on my journey, I realised that eating veggie dishes can be very easy at some restaurants, but it is still quite hard at most of them. This often stopped me, especially in the beginning. I started More Than Carrots to make finding restaurants with tempting veggie offerings easy.”

Visit the More Than Carrots website