RESEARCH | Staff Reporter, UK

Full-time veganism still "relatively niche": analyst

Despite the influx of vegan-friendly items in the restaurant space, full-time veganism continues to appeal to a small number.

IGD Shopper Insight Manager Vanessa Henry did note, however, that 4% of all shoppers claim to have taken part in Veganuary this year, up from 2% of shoppers who are vegan "all the time."

A quarter of this group say that they kept it up for the whole of January, 17% of which taking part to help the environment.  10% of the group, notably, are aged 18-24.

"We can see that most of these shoppers claim to have felt a benefit, whether that is feeling more socially conscious or feeling healthier. However, with only a very small number planning to continue a vegan lifestyle going forward, and with a relatively low proportion of people taking this approach all year round, overall full-time veganism is still relatively niche," Henry said.

16% of shoppers that kept it up for a couple of weeks or the whole month plan to stay vegan for the whole of 2019, with 7% planning to keep it up on an ongoing basis. 6%, meanwhile, adopted a flexitarian approach in January.

“This is representative of a broader trend we see throughout the year, whether it’s just for one meal or one day a week such as Meat Free Monday. This suggests plant-based products being launched on the market now won’t just be confined to the small proportion of shoppers who identify more regularly with veganism, they will appeal to a much broader group of shoppers. Both retailers and suppliers are responding to this interest in plant-based products, launching a significant number of new and interesting alternatives,” she added.

Semi-vegan lifestyle 'on the rise'
Kantar, citing a Lighstpeed survey conducted at the end of January, also found out that 3% of respondents said they were vegan, with 79% still categorising themselves as ‘meat-eaters’.

Being flexitarian or semi-vegetarian was the second most popular choice, with the research company suggesting that there is that a semi-vegan lifestyle is on the rise.

"Crucially, most plant-based consumers are not vegans but those who are choosing to somewhat reduce their meat and dairy intake. 92% of plant-based meals are eaten by non-vegans," Kantar said. 

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