New research has revealed that the turmoil of 2020 led half of Brits to reassess their cooking and eating habits – with one in ten stating they had already made big changes. The survey, commissioned in line with the release of new plant-based recipe book Great British Vegan by Aimee Ryan (@WallflowerKitchen), shows that a quarter (26%) of respondents reported cutting down their meat consumption - following news that a record half a million have signed up to the 31-day annual vegan eating challenge, Veganuary.
Although many reported eating fewer meat and dairy products, some respondents expressed concerns around adopting a fully vegan diet – the biggest being that they might miss eating their favourite foods (39%). Others worried vegan food may be less tasty (22%), more expensive (22%) or that following a vegan diet may be too time-consuming (16%).
When asked what would encourage them towards a vegan diet, a fifth (19%) of respondents stated they would feel reassured by knowing food would taste just as good, knowing it was a healthier option (18%) and knowing they could still enjoy their favourite dishes (17%).
Among the dishes said to be ‘most missed’ when transitioning to a vegan diet, were fish and chips (44%), a traditional Sunday roast (42%) and a full English breakfast (38%).
Top 10 Savoury British Dishes Most Likely To Be Missed When Turning Vegan
1. Fish and Chips – 44%
2. Sunday Roast – 42%
3. Full English – 38%
4. Bacon Butty – 37%
5. Sausage Rolls – 28%
6. Shepherd’s Pie – 27%
7. Yorkshire Puddings – 27%
8. Bangers and Mash – 26%
9. Cheese and Ham Sandwich – 21%
10. Steak and Kidney Pie – 21%
Wider trends included a quarter of Brits now cooking more from scratch than did previously and over a third are eating healthier and including more fruit and vegetables in their diets.
The research uncovered a generational gap in eating trends, with 71% of 16-24-year-olds considering or making changes to their diet following 2020, compared with just 31% of those over 55.
Top 10 Eating and Cooking Habit Changes Prompted By Events of 2020
1. More cooking from scratch / eating fewer prepared meals - 25%
2. Eating healthier than previously - 23%
3. Eating more fruits and vegetables than previously - 23%
4. Being more experimental with cooking / tried new recipes - 19%
5. Eating less meat/meat products - 18%
6. Eating more locally sourced food - 17%
7. Spending more money on cooking and eating - 16%
8. Eating fewer sweets or desserts - 14%
9. Trying to cook in bulk more - 12%
10. Eating more traditionally British foods/meals - 11%
Aimee Ryan, author of Great British Vegan said: “It’s so exciting to see how many people are embracing changes in their eating habits following the difficult year we’ve all had. When I went vegan in 2014, I was determined not to give up my favourite foods, such as the full English breakfast, steak and kidney pie and scones. I created the ‘Great British Vegan’ recipe book, which has plant-based versions of all of these staples, in the hopes that it will show people it’s possible to enjoy comfort foods you love, without using animal products and without compromising on flavour and familiarity."
Jessica Axe, Publisher at White Lion - publishers of Great British Vegan, said: “The research shows a steady rise in popularity for a more ‘flexitarian’ approach to eating from the general public, with many wanting to dabble in eating less meat and dairy without wanting to sacrifice enjoying their favourite dishes. That’s why we’re delighted to launch ‘Great British Vegan’, showcasing delicious and more accessible versions of everyone's favourite meals and comfort foods. We hope it spurs even more people towards that Veganuary pledge.”