Plant-based food sales up, but meat sales not affected: UK study

Increase in plant-based product sales was most significant at superstores, and in low-income areas

UK’s craving for meat is not affected by campaigns for plant-based alternatives, according to new research by the University of Surrey. 

The study looked at UK supermarket sales during the ‘Veganuary’ period and found that while the average weekly sales of plant-based foods increased significantly by 57%, there was no reciprocal reduction in meat sales.  

The research monitored sales of plant-based and meat products in January 2021, with figures compared to sales before and after the Veganuary campaign period in November 2020, February, and March 2021.  

Joanna Trewern, lead author of the study from the University of Surrey, said, “Our study suggests that while retail-led campaigns are driving increased sales of plant-based, we are not yet seeing meat replacement at scale, which is key to drive progress toward healthy, sustainable diets.”

Current figures show UK individuals’ meat consumption far exceeds UK Government recommendations, and the National Food Strategy recommended a minimum 30% reduction in meat consumption to support our nation to reach Net Zero by 2050 in line with Government climate commitments.   

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