Did Lockdown provide a further nudge towards a plant-based diet?

We recently asked 1,000 UK consumers (aged 18 – 64) if during lockdown they had adopted a more fully plant – based diet.

We asked consumers how frequently they had a vegetarian or vegan meal during lockdown compared with the period immediately before, and we saw a shift towards more plant- based meals. 18% said they had a vegetarian or vegan meal more often during lockdown than before. compared with only 4% who said less often. The increase is most notable across younger consumers.

This may be because consumers spent more time in home preparing more meals from scratch – a trend which might well have encouraged experimenting with more vegetarian options. And we know that consumers were also trying to be less wasteful with food, which may also have worked in favour
of plant-based options (using up vegetables).

We also asked consumers about their behaviour before lockdown. We saw that while only 6% chose a fully plant-based vegetarian or vegan diet, a further 11% were flexitarian. Among the 18-24 age- group, 11% claimed to be vegetarian or vegan; we can assume this is driven by both health andethical/environmental reasons. Interestingly, flexitarianism is almost as high amongst 55-64 year olds as it is amongst younger consumers – among this older age-group, this is more likely to be for health reasons.

So while a ‘full-on’ plant – based diet is still only pursued by a small minority, there are indicators that lockdown has nudged people towards eating less meat, especially the younger group. Time will tell if this shift is here to stay but it seems highly likely.