A huge number of Brits are moving away from animal products and toward vegan and vegetarian food. According to supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, 91 percent of people in the UK have adopted a flexitarian diet.
Flexitarianism defines someone who follows a mostly vegetarian diet but occasionally eats meat. The diet has become increasingly popular in recent years and many state that flexitarianism, like veganism, is not a fad but here to stay.
The rise in flexitarians has led to a surge in meat-free food sales; Sainsbury’s revealed it has witnessed a 65 percent increase in plant-based product sales year-on-year. Further, the number of people searching for vegan products online has increased by 82 percent.
In response, Sainsbury’s created a section in its meat aisle dedicated to plant-based meats. The initiative is trialling in 20 stores across the country.
Twenty-six plant-based meat products – including burgers, sausages, and mince – were relocated for the “industry-leading” change that marks the first time a UK supermarket has positioned plant-based products among its meat options, Sainsbury’s said in a press release.
Rosie Bambaji, plant-based buyer at Sainsbury’s, said in a statement, “We’re seeing increasing demand for plant-based products, and with the unstoppable rise of ‘flexitarianism’ in the UK, we are exploring further ways to make popular meat-free options more accessible.”
Bambaji continued, “We hope that this trial will make our customer’s shopping experience even more seamless.”
Why Put Vegan Products Alongside Meat?
The placing of vegan products alongside animal-based food has sparked conversation. Naturli’ Foods, that creates burgers and mince which is sold at Sainsbury’s, believes that uniting the two choices encourages non-vegans to try new products.
“We’ve put our [meat-free products] in the cold counters with the other meats to focus on the usage, not the origin,” the brand said. “We believe that every step in the right direction counts, and that is why we take pride in helping the vegan, the flexitarian or just your everyday omnivore making plant-based choices in the food aisle.”
The tactic has proven successful for vegan meat producer Beyond Meat that sells its plant-based Beyond Burger in the meat aisle in the U.S. According to CEO Ethan Brown, 93 percent of people buying Beyond Meat at supermarkets are meat eaters.
Aside from supermarkets, research from last year found that when meat and plant-based options are displayed together on the same menu, diners are more likely to choose meat-free dishes.