Plant-based food in the UK

Market and consumer insights for food-industry professionals

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Discover new opportunities in the UK’s plant-based-food sector. What are UK consumers’ consumption behaviours and expectations around plant-based food? 

If you work in the food industry in the UK, this article is a must-read! You’ll learn how UK consumers are behaving, what they expect from plant-based foods, and what commercial opportunities exist for the UK food industry. 

Plant-based food in the UK – key highlights:  

  • Consumer profile: 9% of UK consumers are vegan or vegetarian. After Germany, the UK has the largest share of plant-based eaters in Europe. 23% of UK consumers identify as flexitarian.
  • Consumption of animal-based products: among UK consumers, milk is the most frequently consumed dairy product (57% daily), followed by yoghurt (25% daily) and cheese (20% daily). In terms of meat, poultry is the most consumed (58% at least once a week).
  • Consumption of plant-based products: looking at plant-based food, the most frequently consumed items are plant-based milk (26% at least once a week), plant-based beef (24% at least once a week), and plant-based poultry (23% at least once a week).
  • Plant-based meat and fish consumption: UK consumers would specifically like to purchase plant-based chicken breasts (31%), sausages (29%), and minced meat (28%) in supermarkets. UK consumers would also like more plant-based fish burgers to be available on supermarket shelves (22%), along with smoked salmon (20%). The plant-based-meat sector in the UK is the largest of the European countries analysed in terms of sales value.
  • Plant-based dairy consumption: in terms of plant-based cheese, UK consumers would especially like to see plant-based sliced cheese (38%) and plant-based mozzarella (36%) available in supermarkets. The plant-based dairy sector in the UK is smaller than the plant-based meat sector, but growth rates are higher for plant-based milk and cheese than they are for plant-based meat.
  • Plant-based baked goods: if the taste and texture of plant-based baked goods were the same as conventional baked goods, 30% of UK consumers would be likely to purchase plant-based baked goods regularly. Sales value for plant-based baked goods have increased steadily.
  • Preferred ingredients for plant-based foods: potatoes (37%), rice (34%), and mushrooms (31%) are UK consumers’ favourite core ingredients in plant-based foods.

“Among the analysed countries, the UK has the highest sales value in terms of plant-based meat and one of the highest shares of vegetarians and vegans. This report gives detailed insight into UK consumers’ attitudes towards plant-based food and highlights the most lucrative opportunities for businesses in the UK.” – Jimmy Pierson, ProVeg UK Director

To learn more, download the report ‘Plant-based food in the UK’, based on the Smart Protein data, for free here