Most Brits to shun plant-based diet in 2021, says survey

By Jerome Smail contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: Getty Images
Pic: Getty Images

Related tags: vegan

Over three-fifths (61%) of British people say they are unlikely to follow a plant-based diet this year, according to research commissioned by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF).

The survey, carried out by YouGov, shows the least likely age group to opt for a plant-based regime is the 45- to 54-year-old bracket, with two-thirds (66%) giving the option the thumbs-down.

The most likely age groups to follow a plant-based diet in 2021, however, are 25- to 35-year-olds and over-55s. Nearly a quarter (22%) of respondents from each age group were ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to do so.

The research reveals that 16% of 18- to 25-year-olds, 15% of 25- to 35-year-olds and 12% of over-55s already follow a plant-based diet.

Differing definitions

According to the survey, understandings of the term ‘plant-based’ vary among British consumers. Most respondents believed that following a plant-based diet meant cutting out meat and sometimes dairy completely, while 41% said it meant following a vegan diet and 20% equated it with a vegetarian diet.

Nearly one in ten (8%) said they didn’t know what a plant-based diet was at all.

“Most organisations, including the BNF, define ‘plant-based diets’ as those mostly based on foods derived from plants, such as grains, vegetables, fruit, pulses and nuts, but that can also include a smaller proportion of animal derived foods such as meat, fish, eggs and milk,”​ explained Sara Stanner, the BNF’s science director.

“However, most people in our survey thought it meant being vegetarian or vegan, with only 10% equating plant-based with a ‘flexitarian’ approach, or a diet that provides a diversity of different protein sources.”

Plant-based choices

In the survey, the most commonly selected reasons for following a plant-based-diet were: ‘don’t agree with eating meat’ (53%); ‘think it is more environmentally sustainable’ (52%); and ‘a plant-based diet is healthier’ (42%).

When asked whether plant-based foods and drinks are healthier than those from animals, the most common response was neither agree nor disagree (39%).

When survey participants were asked which plant-based foods they ate at least once a month, the most popular options were nuts (51%) and lentils, beans or chickpeas (50%).

The results also indicated that more people in the younger age groups favoured ‘processed’ alternatives, such as Quorn products (26% of 18– 24-year-olds) and meat-free burgers and sausages (33% of 25– 34-year-olds).

Milk alternatives

Over a quarter (26%) of all females and 17% of males in the survey said they regularly consumed plant-based milk alternatives, with 18– 24-year-olds the most likely to use these products (33%).

However, plant-based alternatives to cheese and yogurt were eaten less often (4% and 11% respectively). A quarter (25%) of all respondents did not regularly eat any of the plant-based foods listed in the survey, such as pulses, nuts, meat-free mince or sausages.

Stanner added: “It’s interesting but perhaps not surprising to see that younger adults appear to be choosing more plant-based products such as milk alternatives, plant-based yogurts and plant-based ready meals than those aged 35 and over, as plant-based diets seem to particularly appeal to younger people.

“It’s great to see so much choice now available to consumers when it comes to plant-based products but, a note of caution, that ‘plant-based’ does not always guarantee ‘healthy’.”

Related topics: Veganism

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1 comment

Vegan and Vegetarian Diets Lead to Poor Health and Nutrition

Posted by classic,

Is is entirely correct that producers of vegan and vegetarian foods are forced to display a clear label saying that a vegan and vegetarian diet can lead to ill health an is not a better alternative to any other diet as far as CO2 emissions are concerned or bio diversity is concerned..

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