Flexitarianism: Is the Future Meat Free?

Sep 05, 2017

A YouGov survey from healthy eating alliance Eating Better found that 44% of UK residents have, or are willing to, cut down their consumption of meat. The report highlights more than 20 businesses already helping consumers shift to eating less but better-quality meat, and more plant-based dishes and products. The alliance is now calling on more companies to act on their findings and support the trend.

Eating Better is an alliance bringing together more than 50 national supporting organisations and partner networks from different areas, including health, environment, international development, research, animal welfare, responsible production and professional interests. It aims to help people move towards eating less meat, as part of the vital task of creating sustainable food and farming system in order to meet the aim of a 'fair, green, healthy future'.

Sue Dibb of the Eating Better Alliance says: "As more people are eating less meat, we welcome the steps that an increasing number of food businesses are taking to respond, and we encourage them to go further". 

The review showed that over twice as many young people (ages 18-24) as older people (aged 65+) believe that 'producing and consuming meat and livestock products has a significant negative impact on the environment'. Dibb says: "Young people, in particular, are driving the flexitarian trend towards eating less meat, making this a generational shift. Younger people are more willing to cut back on meat, and they have a much higher awareness and acceptance of the environmental imapacts of eating meat."

In an attempt to encourage companies to better serve this market, Eating Better is showcasing those that are finding ways to support their customers eating less meat and more plant-based food. These include:

  • Pret A Manger's Not Just for Veggies campaign, trialling over 60 new vegetarian and plant-based products in the last year and opening two exclusively vegetarian stores in London, as well as expanding the vegetarian product choice at all Pret stores.
  • Asda's Lean & Bean mince with 40% haricot beans.
  • Restaurant chains Zizzi's, Las Iguanas and JD Wetherspoon's new plant-based menus.
  • Meat-free and plant-based choices added at Marks & Spencer, Co-op and Tesco
  • Commitments from Waitrose and McDonald's for better meat and dairy.

These examples suggest a growing trend, likely to continue in the next few years.