Pandemic fuels rise of plant-based diets: Proagrica study

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More than a third say they’d be likely to try a plant-based alternative to meat at a restaurant

Around one in five people (18%) in the UK have eaten more vegetarian/vegan food since the start of the pandemic last March, with a similar number saying that COVID-19 means it’s more likely they’ll become fully vegetarian or vegan from now on, according to a new study into the nation’s attitude to food.

For more than a quarter of us (28%), the primary reason for the accelerated shift towards plant-based diets was concerns over the hygiene standards of meat – which stumped any of the ’traditional’ arguments for vegetarianism. Some 26% said cited animal welfare concerns, 23% noted health reasons and 22% suggested the environmental impact of meat products was the key influence.

The survey of more than 1,000 UK adults was commissioned by Proagrica, a global provider of technology solutions for the agriculture and animal health industries. It also found that almost a third of Brits (29%) will consider reducing their meat consumption or going vegetarian/vegan if the pandemic continues this year.

In addition, more than a third (39%) say they’d be likely to try a plant-based alternative to meat at a restaurant or fast-food outlet.

The research also highlighted the pandemic has seen a shift in how consumers purchase their food. Around one in six (15%) now buy the bulk of their food online, while a fifth (21%) say they now shop more often and spend less per trip, to avoid creating food waste. Finally, 12% buy frozen food or freeze their own food more than previously.


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