Cutting down on meat saved Brits more than £2.8bn last year, a study has found.
Researchers who polled 2,000 UK adults found 26% reduced their meat intake during the past 12 months – and in doing so, saved an average of £209 each.
The biggest motivations for making the change include health concerns, saving money and reducing the impact of meat consumption on the environment.
Commissioned by vegetarian brand, Linda McCartney Foods, the study found the proportion of vegetarians will increase from a fifth to a third by 2050 if present trends continue.
In fact, a third of Brits think there will be a time when there are more vegans and vegetarians in the UK than meat eaters.
And they are of the view this will happen in just 23 years’ time.
Further to this, more than half of those polled believe 2019 will see more people become vegetarian than ever before.
And 17% of carnivores intend to reduce their meat intake this year.
Charles Banks, director of The Food People, said: “Vegetarianism has been growing over the last few years at a previously unseen rate.
“There are a number of motivations driving people to alter their behaviour, from ethics, economics, environment, health and accessibility.
“Therefore it is most often a combination of factors that are forcing consumers to rethink their daily diets.
“The accessibility of vegetarian and vegan food that has had the biggest impact, as it moves towards a more inclusive, mainstream lifestyle choice.”
The research also found the UK’s meat-eaters currently eat meat five days a week on average – but more than a fifth have it EVERY day.
During a typical year they’ll spend a whopping £752 a year on meat.
Of those who have eaten less meat over the past year, a third believe the change to their diet has had a positive effect on their health.
Further to this, the study carried out through OnePoll found a quarter simply don’t like meat as much as they used to – partly due to the availability of better vegetarian alternatives.
Charles Banks added: “Food without meat is no longer just a ‘plain salad’ – it’s now fun, interesting and fully loaded with the latest trends and flavours.
“In 2018 the UN released a report which stated that we have just 12 years to ‘stave off a climate crisis’.
“In response activists, experts and influencers demanded that people move towards a meat-free diet.
“Following this declaration, thoughts have turned to our diets, as more consumers understand the true cost of our food, not just for our pockets, but for the environment.
“They’re beginning to realise that meat-heavy diets are not sustainable.“
Mary McCartney, daughter of Linda, has directed a film for Linda McCartney Foods which explores kindness.