A new report reveals the COVID-19 outbreak has sparked an increase in veganism among millennial Brits.
Market research firm Mintel conducted the study. It found 25 percent of Brits between the ages of 21 and 30 say the pandemic has made eating plant-based foods more appealing.
“Even before the spread of COVID-19, we were seeing a growing interest in plant-based food and drink across global markets,” Alex Beckett said in a press release. Beckett is Mintel Food & Drink’s associate director.
Beckett added: “It may well be that the pandemic is accelerating this trend.”
Plant-Based Food Sales Surge During COVID
The coronavirus pandemic has severely impacted the meat industry. As a result, per-capita meat consumption is expected to decrease to the lowest its been in nearly a decade, according to the UN’s Food Outlook Biannual Report on Global Food Markets.
There have been many contributing factors to this drop in meat consumption, such as COVID-related market disruptions. Confirmed cases of the virus, as well as worker callouts, forced a number of meat processing facilities to close or reduce operations.
With meat sales down, plant-based meat sales have been skyrocketing amid the pandemic. But the growing trend for plant-based foods was on the rise even before the outbreak.
According to a Mintel study released earlier this year, UK sales of meatless foods are expected to exceed £1.1 billion. The report shows that plant-based meat sales have increased by 40 percent between 2014 and 2019 to reach an estimated £816 million in total sales.
The market research firm attributes this growth to the UK’s increasing number of vegans and flexitarians. Mintel reports that 39 percent of Brits are now consciously reducing or limiting the amount of meat they consume.
“The rising popularity of flexitarian diets has helped to drive demand for meat-free products. Many consumers perceive that plant-based foods are a healthier option, and this notion is the key driver behind the reduction in meat consumption in recent years,” Kate Vlietstra, an analyst at Mintel, said in a release.
In addition to the health benefits of consuming plant-based foods, the firm credits the shift in diets to environmental as well as animal welfare concerns.