From Greggs’ meat-free sausage rolls to Waitrose’s fishless fish fingers, veganism was the topic on everybody’s lips this January. So much so, a record-breaking 250,000 people pledged to commit to ‘Veganuary’ - an initiative that encourages meat eaters to adopt a plant-based diet for the first month of the year.
And yet despite the media buzz, it appears those efforts were in vain. New figures from Kantar Worldpanel reveal that ‘veganuary’ did not affect meat sales at all. In fact, sales of lamb, pork, chicken and fish remained strong throughout January, spelling a positive future for the meat industry.
Consumer experts Kantar Worldpanel analysed the 12 weeks leading up to January 27th, but found no year on year decline in meat purchasing trends - this was however off-set by a surge in plant-based sales. Nevertheless, sales of primary and processed meats remained healthy, with the fish market even blossoming during this period.
Nathan Ward, Kantar Worldpanel’s business unit director of the Meat, Fish and Poultry market, said: “Despite the media profile of Veganuary, the impact on our market is relatively low. There is little evidence of us becoming a nation of vegetarians and vegans, with only beef, lamb and turkey seeing volume declines in the latest period.”
Although the figures do cover a Christmas surge in meat consumption, Mr Ward insisted that Veganuary had no lasting impact on the sector. He said: “When we focus on the last four weeks when Veganuary was running, we’ve seen flat volumes for primary meat and poultry, so any impact is minimal on the core categories.”
The research revealed the fish market even grew throughout January, with 332,000 more shoppers purchasing salmon, cod and pollock.
Similarly, the poultry sector experienced a boom in the same month, with 390,000 more shoppers purchasing chicken. Meanwhile, sales of beef have declined by 1.5 per cent since last year - but even this statistic wasn’t enough to offset the positive January figures for meat consumption.
This news comes after Greggs’ released their controversial ‘vegan sausage roll’ in January and Marks and Spencer unveiled their ‘fishless fish fingers’, prompting speculation that veganism was the new normal.
Veganuary was launched in 2014 and has continued to attract record-breaking numbers each year.