Farmers and manufacturers are being encouraged to expand their product ranges in order to win back customers who have shown interest in wanting to follow a different diet and try ‘something new’. Flexitarian diets are becoming commonplace and veganism continues to rise, as people become concerned about the ethical, environmental and health related aspects of eating a product including animal products.
Senior consumer insight analyst for the Agricultural and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Susie Stannard, said: “Only a tiny minority of the population are actually vegan, with meat and dairy remaining cornerstones of the British diet. But veganism receives a disproportionate amount of media attention and we wanted to explore what’s driving this attention and how it plays out in the marketplace.”
Stannard added: “In our recent qualitative research on young consumers, we found that although many people were open to veganism and found the ideals aspirational, when they actually tried it they encountered barriers in terms of cost, taste and how it made them feel. But we 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.”
The AHDB point out that “food manufacturers have been quick to spot and respond to the growing demands for plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy. Meat substitute product launches accounted for almost 14 per cent of all new ‘meat’ launches tracked in Western Europe.”
Speaking about the future, Stannard said: “There are changes on the horizon, but, as yet, British consumers, by and large, are maintaining their desire to eat meat and dairy. But there are opportunities to be had in moving beyond commoditisation of meat and dairy looking towards more brand and solution-led marketing.
“We have also found that in order to retain consumers’ trust in and demand for meat and dairy production, the industry will need to commit to working together throughout the supply chain.”