Matt Turner, spokesperson for The Vegan Society, said the survey highlighted how pressures on supermarkets and consumers alike were changing buying behaviour towards a more ethical, compassionate alternative.
“After the unprecedented success of Veganuary and the swathes of new vegan products hitting the shelves in recent months, it’s no surprise that many consumers have made the switch to plant-based alternatives during the Covid-19 pandemic, whether that be for convenience, cost, or concern for their own wellbeing, the environment and the rights of animals.
“Many Brits are trying these alternatives for the first time and enjoying them so much that they intend on keeping them in their shopping basket when we return to normal times.
“They are purchasing items that they wouldn’t have given a second look a few months ago, but are now seeing these brilliant vegan alternatives as the new normal.”
Out of those who said they had reduced meat or dairy consumption, 41% did so because their preferred product was not being available on the supermarket shelves, while 43% said they had chosen to reduce their meat consumption out of concern for health, environmental or animal rights reasons.
The cost of meat products was also noted by respondents, with 15% opting for alternatives due to the price of meat in the supermarkets, suggesting that financial pressures are contributing towards a shift to plant-based alternatives.
Turner said that people who have been reducing their meat and dairy consumption during the Covid-19 pandemic have been sampling alternatives that they wouldn’t usually buy. Among the more popular alternatives tried were almond milk (42%), meat alternatives such as vegan sausages and burgers (38%), soya milk (36%) and pulses such as lentils and chickpeas (34%).
“Interestingly, many of the one if five Brits are fans of the new alternatives they’ve tried and have committed to continue buying them in the future. Half of those who have tried vegan meat alternatives such as vegan burgers and sausages have said they will keep on purchasing them after the Covid-19 lockdown,” he said.
Among those trying plant milk for the first time, 54% and 42% of those who have tried soy milk and almond milk respectively said they would make them a regular purchase once the lockdown has been lifted.