IGD: One in two Shoppers Follow or Are Interested in Following a Plant-Based Diet

With The Great British Bake Off adding Vegan Week to this year’s competition and one in two shoppers following or showing an interest in a plant-based diet, free-from dietary trends look to be gathering pace. The latest shopper research from IGD highlights the shifting attitudes towards this trend and the reasons behind it:

High levels of interest in plant-based diets

  • One in two (52%) British grocery shoppers say that they either follow or are interested in a plant-based diet, whether this be vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian
  • This rises to two in three (68%) for 18-24 year olds who say that they either follow or are interested in following a plant-based diet
  • Amongst 18-24 year olds, 30% follow or consider following a vegan diet vs. 17% of all shoppers
  • Loyal vegans are still relatively niche – only 2% of British grocery shoppers claim to follow a vegan diet all of the time

Health and ethics are the main motivators for adopting a plant-based diet

  • Nearly half (45%) of British grocery shoppers claim they are following or considering a plant-based diet because it is healthier
  • 41% claim they follow or consider following a plant-based diet for ethical reasons
  • 30% say it’s because it is better for the environment
  • 21% follow a plant-based diet or would do so to lose weight or look better
  • 18-24 year olds are more likely than the average shopper to be motivated by ethical reasons (51%), environmental concerns (48%) and to lose weight/look good (25%)

Opportunity to further inspire shoppers with vegan recipes

  • 22% of grocery shoppers are interested in experimenting with different vegan recipes
  • 16% of grocery shoppers are interested in baking vegan desserts and cakes
  • 22% would like more recipe ideas for vegan meals in supermarkets
  • 22% would like a greater choice of more convenient vegan options, such as ready meals

Vanessa Henry, Shopper Insight Manager at IGD: “We are seeing an increasing number of people adopting a more flexible approach to their diets, whether it’s just for one meal or one day a week, shoppers are increasingly choosing a vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian diet. This is for a variety of reasons; the aspiration to be healthier, to adopt more ethical credentials and also to limit the impact on the environment. Some shoppers also claim it helps them reduce their overall food bill.

“This suggests plant-based products being launched on the market now won’t just be confined to the 2% of shoppers who identify more regularly with veganism. They will appeal to a much broader group of shoppers.

“From our data we can see that younger shoppers are more likely to follow or consider a plant-based diet, which is no surprise given they are the most socially engaged group. With the rise in celebrities and health influencers sharing recipes and tips online, as well as the growing popularity of movements such as Veganuary and meat-free Mondays, the interest from this group suggests the trend could continue to grow as plant-based products become more mainstream.”

There is still work to do to educate shoppers on vegan diets and improve perceptions. Indeed, 38% of grocery shoppers don’t believe vegan foods taste as good as non-vegan foods, and 42% believe they will miss out on key nutrients if they follow a vegan diet, opening up an opportunity for retailers and manufacturers to invest in this area.

IGD is a UK-based research and training charity which sits at the heart of the food and grocery industry. It has a trading subsidiary that provides commercial services. The profits from these commercial services fund the charity.