Yorkshire Post - Business - - NEWS / BUSINESS -

With The Great British Bake Off adding Ve­gan Week to this year’s com­pe­ti­tion, the lat­est shop­per re­search from IGD re­veals that one in two (52 per cent) of gro­cery shop­pers ei­ther fol­low, or are in­ter­ested in, a plant-based diet, whether this be ve­gan, veg­e­tar­ian or flex­i­tar­ian.

This rises to two in three (68 per cent) for 18-24 yearolds.

Trends like ve­g­an­ism are in­creas­ing in pop­u­lar­ity as con­sumers look for al­ter­na­tives to meat.

Over the past year shop­pers bought an ad­di­tional £30m of meat sub­sti­tutes, such as Quorn, while sales of dairy-free cheeses were up 80 per cent.

IGD said that 30 per cent of 18-24 year-olds fol­low, or con­sider fol­low­ing, a ve­gan diet ver­sus 17 per cent of all shop­pers, in­di­cat­ing that the next gen­er­a­tion will be far more in­ter­ested in non-meat di­ets.

How­ever, this does not mean an end to meat pro­duc­tion as loyal ve­g­ans are still rel­a­tively niche – only 2 per cent of British gro­cery shop­pers claim to fol­low a ve­gan diet all of the time.

Nearly half (45 per cent) of British gro­cery shop­pers claim they fol­low a plant­based diet be­cause it is health­ier, whilst 41 per cent claim they do it for eth­i­cal rea­sons.

Some 30 per cent say it is bet­ter for the en­vi­ron­ment, whilst 21 per cent do it to lose weight or look bet­ter.

18-24 year-olds are more likely than the av­er­age shop­per to be mo­ti­vated by eth­i­cal rea­sons (51 per cent), en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns (48 per cent) and to lose weight/ look good (25 per cent).

Vanessa Henry, shop­per in­sight man­ager at IGD, said an in­creas­ing num­ber of peo­ple are adopt­ing a more flex­i­ble ap­proach to their di­ets, whether it’s just for one meal or one day a week. Some shop­pers claim it also helps them re­duce their over­all food bill.

This sug­gests plant-based prod­ucts won’t just be con­fined to the 2 per cent of shop­pers who iden­tify more reg­u­larly with ve­g­an­ism. They will ap­peal to a much broader group of shop­pers.

In York­shire, food gi­ant Quorn is set to cre­ate hun­dreds of jobs by pump­ing a fur­ther £7m into a new prod­uct de­vel­op­ment cen­tre. It has an­nounced the in­vest­ment at its new ‘Global In­no­va­tion Cen­tre’ at its head­quar­ters in Stokesley, North York­shire.

The com­pany re­ported £112m in like-for-like sales in the first six months of the year, up from £100m dur­ing the same pe­riod in 2017 as in­ter­est in meat sub­sti­tutes in­creases.

Quorn said it will help cre­ate “hun­dreds of jobs” in the re­gion over the next five years.

Quorn has been cap­i­tal­is­ing on a grow­ing ap­petite for meat-free prod­ucts amid the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of ve­gan, veg­e­tar­ian and flex­i­tar­ian di­ets, with the sec­tor grow­ing by 10 to 20 per cent year on year.

The com­pany is now con­fi­dent it can be­come a $1bn busi­ness in un­der 10 years.

The ve­gan trend is some­thing that Quorn Foods is re­spond­ing to with the launch of more tasty ve­gan prod­ucts such as Quorn Ve­gan Chicken-free Slices, Quorn Ve­gan Hot and Spicy Burger, and Quorn Ve­gan Fish­less Fin­gers.

This opens up an area of huge po­ten­tial for York­shire’s food pro­duc­ers, es­pe­cially if they fo­cus on im­proved taste and nu­tri­tion as this is an area that is call­ing out for im­prove­ment.

Trends like ve­g­an­ism are in­creas­ing in pop­u­lar­ity.

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