The UK’s meat-free foods market has experienced a surge in the number of product launches sporting vegan claims.
Research from Mintel found that the share of meat-free products carrying a vegan/no animal ingredients claim nearly doubled between 2014-17.
This comes at a time when a third of consumers in the UK adhere to a vegan or flexitarian diet.
This growing profile of vegan foods is reflected by the fact that in 2017, over half of new product launches in the meat-free foods market were vegan/contained no animal ingredients up from 28% in 2014, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD).
The significant growth in the availability of vegan products in the meat-free foods market will appeal to the 26% of consumers who prefer meat-free products to be plant-based rather than containing eggs or dairy.
Mintel’s latest research also highlights that the popularity of meat-free foods extends well beyond the small pool of non-meat eaters that describe themselves as vegan.
Keen to get a slice of the meat-free action, as many as 56% of UK adults have eaten vegetarian/meat-free foods in the six months to July 2018, a significant increase from the 50% who had eaten these foods in the six months to March 2017.
Estimated to reach £740 million in 2018, sales of meat-free foods (including a growing range of vegan products) have shot up 22% between 2013-18.
Growth is set to continue as value sales of the meat-free market are forecast to increase by a further 44% by 2023 to reach £1.1 billion.
“Although the meat-free market is not vegan by definition, there has been a significant increase in the number of new products that carry a vegan claim,” said Alyson Parkes, Research Analyst at Mintel.
“The buzz surrounding ‘Veganuary’ gained momentum in January 2018, with a raft of vegan products launching to capitalise on the month-long meat-free movement. Vegan claims in the market span own-label products, as well as branded ones, signalling that supermarkets are also keen to capitalise on this interest.
“The appeal of meat-free products also extends far beyond the still very limited pool of vegan consumers. The rising profile of meat-free products and plant-based diets has been helped by activity in the foodservice arena and a significant advertising push in 2018, which has increased the visibility and awareness of these products among consumers, as well as injected excitement into the category.”