Almost 12 million Brits (22%) say they will follow a vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian diet by the end of this year, according to new research by personal finance comparison website finder.com.
According to the survey of 2,000 British adults, 6.5 million already follow these diets, meaning that the number of non-meat eaters would almost double this year if people stick to their resolutions.
Those opting to go vegetarian will save the most each year, as the research found this is the cheapest diet overall. A balanced vegetarian diet costs an average of £1,545 a year, which is £457 (26%) less than a meat-inclusive diet (£2,002).
The analysis showed that a vegan diet is actually the most expensive diet overall, costing £2,073 annually. However, this works out at just £2 extra per week compared with following a non-specific diet.
Despite sometimes being regarded as the most expensive diet to follow, the pescatarian diet costs £1,973 a year, which is £29 cheaper than a diet that also includes meat.
If everyone followed through with their dietary plans in 2019, Brits would spend an additional £4.6bn on vegan diets, £2.8bn on pescatarian diets and £2.4bn on vegetarian diets over a year. This would equal a shift of £9.9bn from omnivore diets to meat-free ones.
The diet that will have the most new recruits in 2019 looks set to be veganism, as 2.2 million intend to take up this lifestyle. This would see the total number of vegans increase by a remarkable 327%, to a total of 2.9 million people.
Vegetarianism, with 3.6 million followers, is currently the most popular of these three diets, and it looks set to remain so for the foreseeable future. An additional 1.5 million people are aiming to follow suit this year, which would see 10% of Britain’s adult population being vegetarian by 2020.
Despite looking like it will have the fewest new recruits this year, the pescatarian diet is still likely to see numbers rise by 67% in 2019, resulting in a total of 3.6 million followers.
Generationally, the percentage of people who eat meat, and don’t currently intend to change, increases with age. While 94% of those in the silent generation (born before 1945) and 86% of baby boomers eat meat, this figure drops to under two-thirds (63%) for post-millenials (born after 1996).
Commenting on the findings, Jon Ostler, UK CEO at finder.com, said: ‘With the rise of vegan-friendly products such as Greggs’ vegan sausage roll, it’s important to be savvy and shop around to make sure you’re getting the best prices. Like any diet, there are ways to avoid falling into traps with overpriced speciality products. A little bit of research and intuitiveness in the kitchen can go a long way. It will also be worth keeping an eye on how Brexit may impact the price of food that we import into the UK.’
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