‘Flexitarian’ is a term recently coined to describe those who eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but occasionally eat meat. Many people who call themselves ‘flexitarian’ or ‘semi-vegetarian’ have given up red meat for health reasons while others, for environmental reasons, only eat free-range or organic animals and animal products. (About Food)
- The growth of a flexiterian diet
- What is a flexiterian?
- Research from Mintel and NatCen
- Blog by Stephensons catering equipment suppliers
Meat free diets have seen a prolific rise in recent years; Mintel claim that 12% of UK adults follow a vegetarian or vegan diet (rising to 20% of 16 to 24 year olds) and that a further 35% follow a semi-vegetarian, or flexiterian, diet. With the British population at approximately 65 million, there are more than 20 million people who regularly choose meatless meals.
NatCen’s British Social Attitudes Survey, commissioned by the Vegeterian Society, has revealed the changing eating habits of the British public away from meat heavy diets. The analysis shows that a significant number of people have made changes to their diet over the past year and that 34% of women and 23% of men have reduced their meat intake.
3 in 10 people in Britain (29%) say they have reduced the amount of meat they have eaten in the past 12 months whilst 1 in 10 (9%) say they are considering reducing their meat intake or cutting meat out completely.
The people that claimed to have reduced their meat intake were asked to pick why they did so by selecting as many factors as affected them. 58% of people in this group cited health reasons whilst saving money, concerns over food safety, animal welfare and environmental concerns were also chosen.
Reasons people are reducing meat consumption, according to NatCen:
- Health reasons (58%)
- Saving money (21%)
- Concerns over animal welfare (20%)
- Concerns around food safety in relation to meat (19%)
- Environmental concerns (11%)
Ian Simpson, Senior Researcher of NatCen Social Research said, “A significant number of people in Britain, amounting to many millions, told us that they have reduced their meat consumption over the past 12 months. Many people in Britain are clearly concerned about eating too much meat and the primary driver of this concern appears to be concerns about health.”
Lynne Elliot, Chief Executive of the Vegetarian Society, said, “We commissioned this research because, for some time, we have noticed people are positively engaging with the idea of eating less meat, but until now there has been little academic evidence to support this.
“This report very much reflects what we see every day in our work, that there is an increasing awareness of the issues relating to our food choices and that has resulted in a large number of people reducing the amount of meat they eat or cutting it out altogether.