In 2018, the UK overtook Germany as the country with the highest number of new vegan food products launched, according to new Mintel research.
The study found that 16% of food products released in the UK in 2018 had a vegan or no animal ingredients claim, doubling from just 8% in 2015.
Meanwhile, Germany has seen wilting numbers of vegan food NPD, with the total share of food launched which were classified as vegan falling from 15% in 2017 to 13% in 2018.
According to Mintel, 9% of food products in Europe in 2018 had a vegan or no animal ingredients claim, growing from 5% in 2015.
The news comes as flexitarianism is on the rise in the UK, with one in three (34%) of British meat eaters reducing their meat consumption in the six months to July 2018 following a flexitarian approach, up from 28% who had done so in 2017. The study found that 31% of British consumers say recent news articles make a convincing argument for giving up meat.
However, 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 menus.
Edward Bergen, global food and drinks analyst at Mintel, said: “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.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019