More than one in four consumers (28%) has reduced or limited their meat consumption in the past six months, whilst around one in seven (14%) are interested in doing so in the future.
The meat-free movement is “no flash in the pan”, said experts at Mintel, as they published new research that also showed people are mainly choosing to eat less meat for health reasons.
Almost half (49%) of those surveyed who are already limiting meat intake or thinking about it say that too much meat is bad for their health. Weight management (29%) is the second most popular reason for adopting a flexitarian diet, followed by animal welfare concerns and the environment (both 24%).
When it comes to a no meat diet, it’s the under 25s leading the way with 19% not eating red meat or poultry. And while animal welfare (54%) is the number one reason why non-meat eaters say they avoid meat, for those under 25 environmental benefit is the leading factor.
“The ethical card in terms of helping to maintain a green planet is a powerful one for meat-free brands to play, particularly now that the issue is attracting a lot of attention,” explained Mintel senior food analyst Emma Clifford.
“On top of the various other benefits linked to reducing meat consumption, following a meat-free diet is likely to be aspirational to many consumers and social media is playing an important role in the attraction of this endeavor,” she added.
As many as 16% of Brits say that advice from healthy eating bloggers and vloggers, such as Deliciously Ella and the Hemsley sisters, is encouraging them to reduce the amount of meat they eat, rising to almost three in 10 (29%) of those who have already reduced or limited their consumption of meat.