According to a new study from the University of Surrey, in the UK, increased promotion and sales of plant based meat alternatives does not jeopardise the sale of meat products.
The study examined UK supermarket sales over ‘Veganuary’, an annual challenge during the month of January organised by a UK non-profit organisation that aims to educate people about vegan dietary patterns and sees retailers and manufacturers focus on promoting plant-based products.
The study analysed sales data from January 2021 in comparison to the months prior and following, observing a significant 57% jump in plant based product sales in January compared to the other months. The study found that while overall consumers increased their proportion of plant based food purchases, they did not reduce meat purchases concurrently.
“[The study] suggests that while retail-led campaigns are driving increased sales of plant-based, we are not yet seeing meat replacement at scale, which is key to drive progress toward healthy sustainable diets,” says Joanna Trewern, lead author of the study.
Superstores were identified as the site of the most significant increase in plant based product sales, particularly in low-income areas, implying that the attempts at making these products more cost-effective has been successful.
While the average weekly sales of plant based foods increased by 57%, there was no indication of a sustained increase for the remainder of the year, with Trewern saying “retailers have an important role to play in enabling the adoption of healthier, more sustainable consumer diets..”
Current UK consumer trends show the average meat consumption exceeds UK Government recommendations, while the National Food Strategy recommends a minimum 30% reduction in overall meat consumption in support of the national goal to reach Net Zero by 2050, as per the Government climate commitments.
“For there to be any chance of meeting UK climate change targets, the Government, food companies, civil society, scientists, and health professionals need to work together urgently to implement action plans and policies that can deliver swift and sustained change,” Trewern presses.
READ MORE: Plant-based food sales are up in the UK, but meat sales not affected [Phys Org]
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