Meat sales fall as Brits turn vegetarian in a bid to save money amid the cost of living crisis, with more people expected to try vegan diets

Author: Maria Chiorando

Read Time:   |  2nd September 2022

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According to the Vegetarian Society, more and more people who previously considered ditching meat are now taking that step due to financial pressures

Thousands of Brits are expected to ditch meat in favour of a vegetarian diet in a bid to save money amid the cost of living crisis.

Data released earlier this Summer by the Office for National Statistics revealed that around one in four adults are eating less meat in order to save money, as they face financial hardship due to inflation and rising costs, notably the ongoing surge in fuel prices.

With cash-strapped families forced to make savings wherever they can, it seems many more will switch out meat for cheaper meat alternatives and plant-based proteins.

According to reports, there has already been a marked decline in demand for lamb and beef, with sales falling by 23.7 per cent and 13.7 per cent over the summer.

The Independent reports that the Vegetarian Society has seen an influx of calls and website visitors, with people seeking out recipes and information as they try to turn to a cheaper diet.

Going vegetarian

Richard McIlwain, chief executive of the Vegetarian Society, told the Independent: “There are still all the traditional motivations for people getting in touch – like animal welfare and environmental reasons – but certainly, anecdotally, what we are hearing is that people who perhaps ordinarily wouldn’t have considered a vegetarian or vegan diet are now doing so for economic reasons.”

Adding that financial pressures may push people who were already considering going meat-free to ditch it, he said: “I think we’ll be looking at tens of thousands of people moving to – or at least experimenting with – vegetarian and vegan recipes over the next few months.

“What I would say to them all is that this doesn’t have to feel like a sacrifice. There is a food adventure waiting out there for you, and there is so much to explore that is flavoursome and tasty and healthy. There is more to the supermarkets than carrots, broccoli, and a cut of meat.”

Vegan protein

According to research by, consumers can indeed save cash by switching out meat for vegan alternatives – if they opt for foods like beans and lentils.

The organisation found that dried red lentils (at £2.40 per kilo) were one of the most economical options when compared to options like chicken breasts (£5.99 per kilo) or beef mince (£5.60 per kilo).

However, it noted that vegan meat alternatives can be equally – if not more – expensive than their meaty counterparts.

In a statement sent to Vegan Food & Living, Jonathan Merry, CEO of, said: “With beef and chicken seeing the largest average price increase year on year, it’s no real surprise that many people are turning to alternatives in order to cut down their food bills.

“Our data supports the conclusion that rather than attempting to replace your favourite beef mince with a fake meat alternative, consumers would be best served financially to opt for high-protein, high-carbohydrate and cost-effective options such as beans and pulses.”

Are you looking to create some affordable plant-based dishes? Check out our guide to 30 Cheap Vegan Meals That Taste Expensive

Written by

Maria Chiorando

Maria is an editor and journalist. Her work has been published by the Huffington Post, the Guardian, TechnoBuffalo, Plant Based News, and Kent on Sunday among other national and regional titles.

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