Plant-based push: COVID-19 makes vegan diet more appealing


Wednesday, 10 June, 2020

Plant-based push: COVID-19 makes vegan diet more appealing

Research from Mintel has revealed that 25% of young British millennials (aged 21–30) say that the COVID-19 pandemic has made a vegan diet more appealing. The research shows that a vegan diet is proving more attractive to over one in 10 (12%) of all Brits, rising to almost a quarter (22%) of Londoners, since the start of the pandemic.

This comes as Mintel research indicates there is a strong belief in the healing power of plants, as 51% of Brits believe plant/botanical ingredients, such as herbs and spices, can have medicinal benefits. Almost a quarter (23%) of Brits are eating more fruits and vegetables since the start of the outbreak, with 31% of Generation Z (aged 20 and under) and 27% of millennials most likely to be keeping their fridges well stocked with healthy produce. Two-thirds (66%) of Brits believe that consuming vitamin C helps support the immune system, with almost two in five (37%) of Brits saying the COVID-19 outbreak has prompted them to add more nutrients that support the immune system to their diet.

“People want the world to change for the better right now and they are searching for ways to show compassion. For consumers struggling to know how to make a positive difference, cutting out animal protein may be seen as a way of tackling the climate crisis, showing compassion for nature and boosting their own nutrient intake,” said Alex Beckett, Associate Director of Mintel Food & Drink.

“Even before the spread of COVID-19, we were seeing a growing interest in plant-based food and drink across global markets. It may well be that the pandemic is accelerating this trend. For example, in China, we’ve seen skyrocketing sales of the new plant-based meat options in KFC and Pizza Hut,” Beckett said.

The lockdown also appears to have impacted respondents’ eating habits, with 37% of consumers believing that, in the future, people will buy long-life food and drink, such as UHT milk and tinned food, more often. Meanwhile, 17% of Brits have been consuming more tinned food since COVID-19, rising to 25% of Generation Z and 21% of millennials. Almost seven in 10 (69%) Brits say the outbreak has encouraged them to waste less food at home.

Mintel research also reveals that the virus has created a long-term interest in cooking and baking, as 55% of the nation say they plan on cooking more from scratch post-COVID-19 than they did before.

“Before the outbreak, younger people generally opted for convenient, fresh food that didn’t take long to prepare. But under lockdown, with more time at home and no restaurants or cafes open for business, long-life food has had clear advantages. It doesn’t take up precious fridge space and lasts a good while, making it suitable for quarantine living and resulting in fewer shopping trips. It’s affordable, often nutritious and, in the case of tinned veg or fruit, suits our rekindled fondness for cooking from scratch,” Beckett said.

Image credit: © Bujak

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