Flex appeal

As flexitarianism becomes more and more popular, an increasing number of people are toying with the idea. 

Research from Rich’s premium bakery products shows people increasingly flexing between different eating habits and diets. One message — that cutting down on, or giving up, meat and dairy is beneficial for the environment — appears to be gaining significant traction.

I certainly fall into the category of being flexible as I’m all for trying different foods and cuisines. Thus, the concept of a flexitarian diet is very appealing. I’m flexitarian by choice, but I don’t consider myself to be on a path to totally forego meat.

The balance between being a full-time carnivore and vegetation is a conscious decision. I cook from scratch daily or most days and experiment frequently with new recipes.

According to Rich’s, the total UK grocery meat-free and plant-based occasions are now worth £3.4bn with more and more people entering the category to meet their lifestyle needs. It is just as booming in the out-of-home sector, where visits for vegan products reached half a billion in 2019, totalling £3.9bn spend. Gluten free options also proved popular, with 0.4 billion visits and £3.1 billion spend.

I assume I’m like many who are not rigid in their approach. Rather than go 100% plant-based, I flex the days of the week when I fall into the category of vegan/vegetarian. Other days, I eat meat and other animal products. On the weekend, I’ll eat out with friends and family.

It’s easier than ever to pick and choose, with a wider range available for vegetarians or vegans. No matter what, taste is still king though and while dairy and meat alternatives are high, repeat purchases rely on the products having replacements taste somewhere near the original. Rich’s research shows that free-from brands also need to offer more clarity with on-pack labelling, especially with confusion from consumers around free-from/plant-based definitions. 

Meat is not leaving the nation’s shopping lists any time soon. However, we could potentially see a not-too-distant future where plant-based foods are not considered a rare treat – rather, they could be the focal point of every meal.

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