Over 25% Of UK Adults Eating Less Meat To Save Money, New Study Finds

There's scope for plant-based alternatives demand to increase as meat sales dip


2 Minutes Read

two people sit at the table drinking coffee and eating fruit People are reducing meat consumption as the cost of living crisis continues - Media Credit: Jack Sparrow | Pexels

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that around one in four adults in the UK is cutting down on meat to survive the cost of living crisis. 

A survey conducted by ONS found that 28 percent of participants are actively reducing the amount of meat they buy. 

Millions of households are embarking on cost-saving endeavors across multiple essential household categories. Almost half (46 percent) admitted to driving less due to the cost of living crisis. Meanwhile, 65 percent have stopped regularly socializing out of the home.

Most meat prices have risen well above the rate of inflation. Beef and chicken have both been hit badly, with the latter having a particularly profound effect on UK consumers.

Traditionally the UK’s favorite and most affordable meat, chicken has become prohibitively costly. It has reached almost the same price as beef in recent months.

The ONS states that the average retail price for chicken has increased by 12 percent in the last year, bringing it to £2.98 per kilo.

In May, Steve Murrells, chief executive of Co-op, revealed that if prices continue to increase, he can foresee consumers switching to vegan alternatives. 

He made the statement at the Retail & eCommerce directors’ forum.

What is causing meat prices to rise?

Consumers were warned last year that chicken prices would have to rise sharply, to reflect the “true cost of food production,” as Ranjit Singh Boparan said. The owner of Bernard Matthews and 2 Sisters Food Group, Boparan’s UK-wide facilities process more than 10 million chickens every week. They also supply all major supermarket chains.

A key driver of price hikes is the rising rate of inflation in the UK. However, generally increased production costs are also being passed onto the end consumer.

The Guardian reported a 4.4 percent rise in UK grocery costs, as a direct result of skyrocketing manufacturing costs. Included in this is animal feed and fertilizer, both of which have been hit hard by the war in Ukraine.

How do plant-based meat prices compare?

It is not yet known if meat reduction is resulting in a spike in plant-based alternative sales, though one in three people are willing to try vegan food if it is cost-effective. However, it has been widely reported that the price gap between meat and vegan substitutes is shrinking overall.

In the Netherlands, plant-based meat has been shown to now costs less than animal alternatives. ProVeg International commissioned supermarket researcher Questionmark to conduct a price analysis. It proved that vegan products are cheaper across the board.

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