Pandemic drives an increase in meat consumption across UK

2 Feb 2021

After years of growth, the movement of consumers away from meat has slowed in the UK, according to new data from Mintel. Over the course of 2020, the percentage of Brits reducing their meat consumption dropped from 51% in 2019 to only 41% in 2020.

This decline in those eschewing meat from their diets coincided with a rise in processed meat sales, which spiked 18% to £3.7 million ($5 million) in 2020. Sales of bacon, sausage and burgers all rose with gains of 18%, 20% and 26% respectively. Deli meats, a category that has waned in recent years, posted a 22% increase in category sales in 2020.

Pandemic drives an increase in meat consumption across UK

Mintel found part of the reason behind these gains is due to the comfort associated with meat dishes. Over half (58%) of consumers eating meat and poultry said that meals with meat are comforting. This finding is reflected in data from the International Food Information Council (IFIC), showing that in 2020 19% of those surveyed had eating habits that had become less healthy over the course of the pandemic with consumers seeking out more comforting and indulgent foods.

While eating less meat is widely considered by consumers to contribute to greater overall health, many also consider it better for the environment, which has become an important consideration for shoppers. In its survey, Mintel recorded that between 2018 and 2020, the number of Brits that considered eating less meat to be better for the environment increased from 25% to 42%. Similarly, a study from the consulting firm Kearney similarly found that as of this spring, 83% of consumers considered the environment when making purchases, up from 71% in 2019.

Nevertheless, the uncertainty and disruption caused by COVID-19 has driven environmental and health considerations to take a back seat to other concerns such as value and availability. The IFIC found 28% of shoppers were worried about their ability to afford enough food in 2021.

Still, although the pandemic caused a seismic shift in consumption habits, Mintel expects this return to more meat consumption to be short lived. In the mid- to long-term, the market analysis company foresees a return to the general trend of eating less meat, and therefore offered a positive outlook for plant-based companies that are working to earn a bigger slice of the market even as they continue to compete on price and perceived benefits as compared to animal-based options.

Related news

Animal-free dairy cheese appeals to over half of global consumers

Animal-free dairy cheese appeals to over half of global consumers

20 Jul 2021

Globally, 70.5% of consumers said they would be willing to buy cheese made with dairy proteins that don’t come from animals, according to a new survey from the precision fermentation company Formo and the University of Bath published in the journal Fro...

Read more 
Provenance Bio's plant-based gelatin beats animal based options on price

Provenance Bio's plant-based gelatin beats animal based options on price

12 Jul 2021

To answer the growing demand for animal-free collagen, San Francisco-based startup Provenance Bio, unveiled its first animal-free gelatin product made with its proprietary protein expression platform. The company said that the proteins it produces for ...

Read more 
PepsiCo doubles down on nonalcoholic cocktail mixers with Unmuddled

PepsiCo doubles down on nonalcoholic cocktail mixers with Unmuddled

8 Jul 2021

Legacy soda manufacturer PepsiCo is moving deeper into the non-alcoholic cocktail space with the announcement that it will debut a line of premium mixers called Unmuddled. The product line will be available beginning in September at Fresh Thyme and on ...

Read more 
The Protein Brewery inaugurates pilot plant, begins producing Fermotein

The Protein Brewery inaugurates pilot plant, begins producing Fermotein

2 Jul 2021

The Protein Brewery, a microbial fermentation startup from the Netherlands, announced that it has both completed the construction of its first commercial production plant in Breda, Netherlands and that it has delivered the inaugural samples of its food...

Read more 
Imagindairy ferments casein and whey, expects launch in two years

Imagindairy ferments casein and whey, expects launch in two years

1 Jul 2021

Israeli startup Imagindairy is aiming to take cows out of the dairy equation entirely with its animal-free casein and whey proteins that it has developed over the course of 15 years of research. The company says that its proprietary fermentation techno...

Read more 
OmniFoods splashes into seafood with new launch

OmniFoods splashes into seafood with new launch

23 Jun 2021

Asia’s plant-based protein titan OmniFoods is now stretching its portfolio to hook more customers with the launch of its first seafood analogs. The company will expand from land-based protein to sea-based protein with its new OmniSeafood line where it ...

Read more 
Chromologics addresses natural colors challenges with precision fermentation

Chromologics addresses natural colors challenges with precision fermentation

18 Jun 2021

Danish food coloring technology company, Chromologics is developing a platform to address the lack of variety in the high-performance, animal-free, sustainable food colorings market. Its first foray into the space is with the color red, and the company...

Read more 
Akua launches burger made from regenerative kelp

Akua launches burger made from regenerative kelp

14 Jun 2021

In a bid to take a slice of the plant-based burger market, New York-based Akua launched a burger made from kelp. This ocean-farmed seaweed burger also contains crimini mushrooms, pea protein, black beans, quinoa, and crushed tomatoes.

Read more 
Icelandic Provisions dips into oat milk with new skyr product

Icelandic Provisions dips into oat milk with new skyr product

11 Jun 2021

American dairy company Icelandic Provisions launched its first plant-based product, Oatmilk Skyr. When the product rolls out across the U.S. at Whole Foods Market locations, the company says that it will become the first oat milk skyr on the market.

Read more 
Unilever adds mycoprotein to its portfolio through partnership

Unilever adds mycoprotein to its portfolio through partnership

7 Jun 2021

Multinational Unilever has partnered with food tech company Enough to incorporate the startup’s mycoprotein Abunda into its plant-based products portfolio. Enough’s mycoprotein is made using fermentation to create a biomass that the company says uses a...

Read more