A new report reveals that half of Europeans are consciously reducing their meat consumption, with some countries like Spain as high as 61% regularly choosing vegetarian and vegan food days.
Whilst the survey doesn’t include the United Kingdom, it’s clear that a growing number of Brits are reducing or replacing meat and dairy in their diets. According to Kantar Worldpanel, more than a quarter of all evening meals in the UK are vegan or vegetarian, a figure that has “grown consistently” in recent years.
Amongst the European consumers having meat-free days, Spain comes out on top with 61% of people opting for vegetable-protein over meat on a regular basis.
Germany comes in at a close second with 57% of consumers ditching the meat for plant-based alternatives, whilst Poland takes third place with 55% and France and Italy tie with 45%.
Mintel’s report suggests that the increase in meat-free eating is partly due to the rapid rise in tasty, affordable and innovative plant-based meat-replacement products, which have been invaluable for bringing vegan into the mainstream. The report comes as the long-awaited Beyond Meat burger is due to hit Tesco stores across the UK as well as outlets across Europe from the first week of August.
Animal charity Humane Society International UK, which runs the Forward Food programme providing plant-based culinary training to help chefs at British universities and catering companies meet the growing demand for vegan meals, says with the animal welfare, environmental and health benefits of plant-based eating, it’s inevitable that the vegan trend is growing across Europe.
HSI UK Executive Director Claire Bass said:
“With affordable, healthier plant-based products flooding the market that taste like meat but have a lower environmental impact and zero animal suffering, it is no surprise that such a large proportion of people across Europe are regularly eating meat-free. We are delighted to see that growing awareness of the animal welfare, environmental and health impacts of meat consumption is leading to a dietary shift away from animal products.”
HSI has taken it vegan Forward Food training to 10 universities so far including Oxford, Cambridge and City of London, as well as catering giants such as Compass Group and Baxterstory, which provide millions of meals to schools, hospitals, care homes, corporate offices, and at sports events as well as far-flung oil-rigs and military bases. HSI’s Forward Food programme also runs in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and Vietnam.