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Meat sales are on the decline across the industry, according to supermarket Sainsbury’s.

The retail giant made the comments while it announced its response to this changing customer behavior: to move its vegan range next to meat counters.

From today, in 20 Sainsbury’s stores, 26 meat-alternative products including sausages and burgers will be found in the new location.

Vegan rise

“We were looking at as a business the challenge we face in the future, if we sell less and less meat what do you backfill it with,” James Hamilton, Meat-Free and Ready Meals Buyer at Sainsbury’s, told The Telegraph, adding that the trial was ‘in reaction to a decline in meat sales across the industry’.

“So we are supplementing our ranges with alternative proteins and plant-based ranges. We are interested to see what happened. The general market dynamic is that meat is on the decline.

“This is a way of giving people more choice and new ideas. People will even if they didn’t buy it will be thinking – is there a different way of doing things. We are appealing to different people than those who shop in our plant based section.”

Plant-based sales

Last year, Hamilton revealed that the supermarket was seeing a surge in consumers opting for plant-based products, with sales of its meat-free range are skyrocketing by a massive 20 percent each week.

“We are seeing an increasing interest from our customers in plant-based foods, with sales of our current meat-free range growing 20 percent each week. We’re always exploring new ways to offer even greater choice, quality and value and our new Naturli’ mince and burgers are a brilliant example.

“Estimates now put the UK’s number of ‘flexitarians’ – also known as meat-reducers – at around 22 million. It is these consumers who are credited for much of the boom in plant-based sales.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.