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Less than two weeks into a life of lentils, chickpeas and dairy-free cheese, the Veganuary challenge is well under way, as committed Brits turn to plant-based meals joining the likes of Ariana Grande and Benedict Cumberbatch. From the UK dominating global vegan new product development to a sharp rise in UK meat-free consumption, here Mintel presents the must-know facts about the vegan market.

  • UK vegan new product development (NPD) is flourishing, so much so that according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), in 2018, the UK was the nation with the highest number of new vegan food products launched, toppling Germany from its number one spot.
  • Growing well, as many as one in six (16%) food products launched in the UK in 2018 had a vegan/no animal ingredients claim, doubling from just 8% in 2015.
  • 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 (9%) food products launched in Europe in 2018 had a vegan/no animal ingredients claim, doubling from 5% in 2015.

Flexitarianism on the rise in the UK

  • One in three (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, one in ten (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, four in ten (39%) British diners say that vegan meals are boring, while 41% say they are overpriced. Around one in ten (9%) British diners would like to see more vegan items on the menu.

Edward Bergen, Global Food and Drinks Analyst at Mintel:

“For a number of years Germany led the world for launches of vegan products. However, 2018 saw the UK take the helm. 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.”