AHDB worked with YouGov to gather information about meat eaters’ perceptions of plant-based meals and whether they would be interested in trying vegan dishes.
The research showed that there was a growing appetite for alternative proteins as meat eaters claimed that they were keen to “try something new”.
The results showed that there was a high crossover in in the purchase of meat alternatives, with almost half of Quorn sales being made by meat-eaters.
However, the vast majority of the population regarded themselves as meat-eaters – with figures from Kantar showing that 91% of British households purchased red meat.
A total of 7% of the population classified themselves as vegetarian, with 4% pescetarian (only eating fish and dairy) and just 2% vegan. Flexitarians – who cut down on meat consumption for health reasons – made up a further 7% of the population.
AHDB’s senior consumer insight analyst Susie Stannard said the industry needs to commit to working together throughout the supply chain to retain consumer’s trust for meat production.
“There are changes on the horizon but, as yet, British consumers, by and large, are maintaining their desire to eat meat and dairy,” said Stannard. “But there are opportunities to be had in moving beyond commoditisation of meat and dairy and looking towards more brand and solution-led marketing.
“We have found that many more people are interested in taking on board some elements of a plant-based diet even if they are not willing to commit full-time.”
Plant-based meats have swept the international meat industry over the past 12 months, with companies such as Beyond Meat, Vivera and Naturli’ Foods entering major UK retailers.