The organization, which ‘helps to make Great Britain’s livestock, dairy and agriculture sectors more successful’, blames ‘negative health perceptions…particularly among older consumers’, for the decline.
“Bacon sales were in growth until the end of 2018 but have since been in decline, with volumes down 5.3 percent in the year to November 2019 (8,500 tonnes),” said the organization.
“Media reports linking bacon to cancer appear to have resonated with consumers; when asked, 18 percent claimed to have heard something about bacon in the media recently with over half of those people reporting the news had been negative.
“Many cited hearing negative reports about nitrates in bacon and recommendations that they cut back on processed meat. We have consequently seen a significant uptick in concerns about the healthiness of bacon, with sausages not far behind.”
While processed meat sales appear to be struggling, the plant-based sector has seen massive growth over the past year. According to Mintel, the UK market is predicted to reach £1.1bn in value by 2023.
Multiple meat alternative producers have seen massive sales spikes, with veggie giant Quorn seeing sales skyrocket by 35 percent over the last three years, with the company aiming to hit $1bn (£760m) in global annual sales by 2027.
UK supermarkets have been keen to capitalize on the growing demand, with Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose among others launching own-brand plant-based lines as well as adding other producers’ products to their shelves.