Vegan food demand plunges as 'people want real meat'

Plant based beyond meat burgers

Plant-based brand Beyond Meat revealed a drop in revenue

George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 20/11/2023

- 08:48

It comes as supermarkets have slashed their vegan ranges

New research suggests that demand for vegan food is falling.

Overall industry sales of meat alternatives are down 13.6 per cent over the last year.

It comes as plant-based brand Beyond Meat revealed last week its revenue had dropped by nine per cent.

Around a fifth of the Los-Angeles based company's workforce would be cut as a result of the new figures.

Beyond meat burgers

Beyond Meat has had to cut its workforce


According to trade newspaper The Grocer, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons have cut their vegan ranges by 10 per cent.

Pret A Manger axed 75 per cent of its vegetarian-only "Veggie Pret" stores in December. Last year, the BBC reported there were "notably fewer" patrons at the UK’s biggest indoor vegan event.

According to Statista data published in August, an average Briton consumed 61.7kg of meat in 2022, compared with 55.8kg in 2012.

It comes as the new trend is "smashed burgers", making patties which are flattened on the grill with the back of a spatula searing the meat and creating crispy edges, while locking in the juices.



"Smashed burgers" are the new trend in meat


Food writer at Eating With Tod Toby Inskip said: "It has made something that was always quite dry and boring, exciting and aesthetically pleasing.

“Smashed burgers bring a whole new experience to the table, with its added crispiness and better taste, it’s a different league to old school burgers.”

Restaurants such as Supernova, Bleecker Burger, Black Bear Burger and Beefy Boys have developed cult-like followings and won praise from industry-leading chefs.

Molly Hutchinson, who runs meat festival Meatopia, said: “What we’re seeing at the moment is a rise in the cult burger brands.

"It’s great to see more burger restaurants with strong ethos around sustainable, responsibly sourced meat.

"I think we can all agree we should be eating more vegetables.

"But heading to your local butcher and buying locally sourced, grass fed beef burgers is more sustainable than grabbing an over processed meat alternative."

When asked if vegan smashed burgers were in competition with their real meat counterparts, Mr Inskip said: “They don’t really work, it’s alright, but the whole point is to get the crisp edge and charred quality, but with a vegetable you just don’t get that caramelisation.”

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