Meat-free food sales soar almost 20% as “middle-class” shoppers cut back on meatNovember 4th, 2019
Shoppers who are cutting back on meat products have fuelled a huge rise in meat-free products, with vegan ready meals leading the sector.
According to new data from The Grocer the sector is now worth £474.5 million, and almost two-thirds of consumers buying more meat-free products than they were a year ago.
Despite only three per cent of the country identifying as vegan, it’s a fast-growing sector, and 21 percent of people would call themselves flexitarian.
Supermarket sales had risen by 18 per cent, with sales of ready meals alone rising by a quarter to £78.8 million.
Christmas meal specials ‘under threat’October 28th, 2019
Pigs in blankets and other festive meal additions might be in short supply this Christmas, the British Meat Processors Association has warned.
It says 60% of the labour force in UK meat plants comes from other countries and the industry is not attracting enough seasonal EU workers.
Its chief executive, Nick Allen, told the BBC that wrapping cocktail sausages in bacon was done by hand. He said the job was “fiddly and hard to mechanise”.
The British Meat Processors Association represents the majority of companies working in the British meat industry, handling beef, lamb and pork products.
Its members are responsible for supplying fresh meat and meat products to retailers, restaurants and food service companies throughout the UK.
The industry employs about 75,000 people and is worth more than £7bn a year to the British economy.
Meanwhile, the UK poultry industry employs more than 37,000 people and contributes more than £3bn a year to the economy.
Trends emerging for 2020September 12th, 2019
Consider more than just the end product. As news about climate change, disappearing rainforests and plastic oceans dominate our social feeds, consumers have started demanding sustainability in both packaging and in foodstuff, quickly making it integral in today’s food business. Whether it’s swapping out Styrofoam for paper, or buying ingredients from sustainable sources, sustainability is going to be huge in 2020 across the entire value chain.
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Five ways UK farmers are tackling climate changeAugust 19th, 2019
Farmers are on the front line of climate change – vulnerable to changes in temperature and rainfall, as well as increasingly frequent extreme weather events.
Agriculture is currently responsible for about 9% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from methane. The National Farmers’ Union (NFU), which represents 55,000 UK farmers, has set a target of net-zero emissions in British farming by 2040.
1. Sending in robots
Scientists in Wiltshire are part of a growing group of experts around the world developing small battery-powered robots that could drastically cut tractor use. Tractors use diesel, a major source of carbon emissions in farming. The machines rely on artificial intelligence to sow seeds, identify individual weeds, and apply exactly the right amounts of pesticide and fertiliser in the right places, rather than spraying it across a whole field.
2. Using drones to map fields
Drones and tractor-mounted sensors are also being used to help farmers work out the exact patterns of moisture, weeds and pests. The data is fed to precision machinery to target areas that need work – and leave the rest undisturbed.
3. Planting more trees
Friends of the Earth is calling for a doubling of tree cover – to boost carbon storage, help with flooding and prevent soil erosion. Wind protection from trees can also reduce the time livestock need to be kept indoors in the winter, again saving on energy and cutting emissions.
4. Keeping livestock outside for longer
Farmers who keep their animals outdoors for longer in the UK can help to cut emissions thousands of miles away. When animals are taken indoors, they are sometimes fed on soya imported from Latin America. Soya is often cultivated on land that was previously rainforest, so the demand for animal feed in the UK is, critics say, exporting deforestation.
5. Cutting methane emissions
Cows and sheep produce methane in their digestive systems. Methane produces 21 times as much warming in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Whilst carbon dioxide is the biggest concern for many other industries, in farming methane is a major worry. The NFU points to many farmers using methane from manures and slurries to generate electricity and says the British livestock industry is one of the most efficient and sustainable in the world.
Source: BBC Focus on Farming
Plant based foodsJuly 31st, 2019
One study has shown 95% of the people who bought a plant-based burger this past year were meat eaters.
The demand for plant-based foods soared 20% last year, compared with 8% in 2017.
The most sweeping changes are happening in food services, where demand for plant-based options is changing the menus in millions of food providers.
Plant-based options are more widely available, more appealing and better tasting, they’re also more socially acceptable.
The 2019 Food and Health Survey found that people want to make environmentally sustainable food choices. But they say it’s confusing to know what to buy. When it comes to reducing meat, most people are driven by health concerns and cost with animal welfare and environmental issues.
Millennials have reduced their consumption of one type of meat over the past three years. And even more people aspire to change their diets.
The vegan and vegetarian diet brings the benefits of more vegetables, whole grains and legumes with the lightest global footprint. But the fact is most people are either unable or unwilling to maintain strict no-meat diets. Compared with the number of vegans and vegetarians today, there are more than five times as many former vegans and vegetarians.
Smaller dietary changes are much more appealing and effective than eliminating meat.
Social influencers for food choicesJuly 1st, 2019
Social media plays an increasingly important role in what the U.K. consumer chooses in-store.
Consumers are focusing on what they see as online lifestyles rather than repeated brand messaging.
Independent research showed over 50% of a survey group of shoppers aspired to cook more of what they saw on Instagram, and millions of home cooks managed their weekly shop based on recipes to be tried rather than repetition of a set list.
A percentage of home cooks said social media is more of an inspiration and influence on food choices than TV and magazine media channels.
What still remains the key for shoppers is convenience in store. If a shopper can find the latest on-trend ingredients as promoted online by their favourite influencer, this is a tangible competitive advantage.
U.K. market for ethical food growthMay 10th, 2019
Ethical food and drink sales hit £8.2bn in 2018, with more British consumers are keen to make ethical food choices.
New research from Mintel shows that British consumers are making choices based on their conscience. This trend is set to continue with sales in 2019 expected to grow by 4% to £8.6bn. 83% of UK adults have said they’ve bought a food or drink item with some form of ethical certification, with 87% of over-55’s saying they were most likely to buy ethically-certified food or drink.
Almost half (48%) of UK adults researched said they are loyal to brands that they believe share their ethics and values, with that figure rising to 56% when just the under-25’s are counted. A third of adults also said they stopped buying products from brands that have acted unethically, showing how important it is to many that brands are acting ethically.
Challenging plastics wasteApril 29th, 2019
A leading U.K. supermarket is introducing paper carrier bags at all of its checkouts. This initiative may save 1,300 tonnes of plastic a year.
The paper used is made from sustainably managed forests in Wales and each bag will carry up to 16kg. Each bag can be reused and ultimately recycled.
The uncertainty of Brexit and potential complexities in the food chain, what does this mean for U.K. food producers?April 24th, 2019
A suggestion to ensure provenance in our food is to use British products where possible, supporting local and countrywide economies. If we support our producers and farmers then we are also helping them to create export items for a future outside the EU.
Brexit and food chain considerations are driving this 2019 trend.