2018 was a turning point for the the UK’s burgeoning vegan industry with Mintel revealing that the UK claimed the highest number of new vegan food products launched.
According to Mintel Global New Products Database As many as one in six food products launched in the UK last year had a vegan/no animal ingredients claim. This was double 2015’s figure of 8% and knocked Germany from the top stop.
A mature and saturated market, Germany has seen wilting numbers of vegan food NPD, the total percentage share of food launches which were classified as vegan fell from 15% in 2017 to 13% in 2018.
Overall, one in ten food products launched in Europe in 2018 had a vegan/no animal ingredients claim, doubling from 5% in 2015.
The rise of flexitarianism in the UK
34% British meat eaters reduced their meat consumption in the six months to July 2018 following a flexitarian approach, up from 28% who had done so in 2017.
Digesting the facts, 31% of British consumers say recent news articles make a convincing argument for giving up meat.
Milking the trend, sales of non-dairy milk grew 9.4% from £202 million in 2016 to £221 million in 2017. Meanwhile, 9% Brits drank plant-based milk in the three months to February 2018, rising to 27% of consumers aged 25-34.
Finally, it maybe all the rage with celebrities, but today, 39% British diners say that vegan meals are boring, while 41% say they are overpriced. Around 9% British diners would like to see more vegan items on the menu.
“For a number of years Germany led the world for launches of vegan products. However, 2018 saw the UK take the helm,” said Edward Bergen, Global Food and Drinks Analyst at Mintel.
“Germany has certainly plateaued, likely driven by a flooded market with little room to grow further. The UK, by contrast, has seen a huge promotion of vegan restaurants and new ranges. The most poignant of these is the expansion of supermarket own-label ranges in mainstream stores, with dedicated vegan ranges.
“Additional space is also being freed up by UK supermarkets in the on-the-go aisles and small format stores, to help promote vegan options and make it easier for meat eating consumers to try these new concepts out.
“Meanwhile, initiatives like ‘Veganuary’ and ‘meat-less Monday’ allow consumers to flirt with veganism without the long-term commitment. As more people reduce their meat intake, they experiment with more plant-based dishes catering for their flexitarian lifestyles – whether at home, on-the-go or in restaurants.
“Moreover, consumers are becoming more willing than ever to expand their comfort zones, push themselves to the limit with new experiences and use social media to compete with and offer inspiration to their peers.”