A recent study by Waitrose has shown that one-third of Brits are cutting down on the amount of meat they eat, or cutting meat from their diet altogether.
9.5% of those surveyed identify as vegetarian and 3% as vegan, which is roughly in line with the findings of a recentfrom April 2018, which placed the total number of vegans at 5% of the population – that’s 3.5 million people.
The reasons that survey participants stated for the change in their diets ranged from concerns about animal welfare (55%) to health reasons (45%) and environmental concerns (38%).
Waitrose has invested heavily in its vegan offerings this year, adding a new vegan section to the majority of its stores across the UK. The supermarket has also teamed up with several vegan brands and food producers, including The Happy Pear and Vivera, and increased the number of specifically vegan and vegetarian products on offer in stores by 60% this year.
Waitrose was the subject of some controversy this week as editor of Waitrose Magazine William Sitwell wrote a bizarre reply to a journalist pitching a series of vegan recipes for the magazine. His reply suggested instead “a series on killing vegans, one by one”, exploring “ways to trap them” and “force-feed them meat”.
Many people were upset by his response, and after public pressure on Sitwell to resign he stood down from the magazine. The overwhelming feeling seemed to be that it was an odd attitude to have as the editor of a magazine which regularly features vegetarian and vegan recipes, and even published a special vegetarian-only issue last year, in which no ads for meat products were shown.
With a further fifth of those surveyed indicating that they follow a flexitarian diet, opting for meat- and dairy-free meals regularly but not all the time, the increased awareness and positivity around veganism looks set to continue.