National statistics released by the UK’s Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have revealed that over the last two decades, people are increasingly shopping for more ethical food options, including plant-based meat alternatives, certified organic, fair-trade, free-range, and freedom foods (also know as RSPCA approved).
Ethical food sales now make up nearly 10% of all household food sales in the UK, accounting for £9 billion of household food sales in 2015. Between 1999 and 2015, sales of vegetarian meat alternatives rose by more than 36 percent.
According to DEFRA “Rainforest Alliance made up the largest single share in 2015, accounting for 23% of the total ethical food sector.”
These statistics show an increasing awareness in the UK of the potential unethical practices in food production, particularly in terms of their environmental impact.
The trend mirrors the rise in veganism and plant-based diets. The issue is even being discussed in parliament among select groups as a way of reaching climate change targets prompting an environmental researcher to suggest that “Getting used to new flavours is really a walk in the park compared with the wrath of climate change.”
The current momentum behind the vegan movement has resulted in the prediction that plant-based eating will be a “mega-trend” for 2018, particularly as information emerges surrounding the detrimental impact of animal agriculture on the environment. The data released by DEFRA clearly shows that the British public is concerned about the environment and have begun to take measures to address the issue in their weekly shop to prevent environmental disaster.