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Changing shopping habits prompt Tesco to offer new vegan foods in the meat aisle

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Tesco now stocks this meatless burger in the meat aisle. Photo: Richard B. Levine/SIPA USA/PA Images
Tesco now stocks this meatless burger in the meat aisle. Photo: Richard B. Levine/SIPA USA/PA Images

Brits who eat meat, as well as those who go for vegan alternatives, will now able to find both options in the meat aisle at larger Tesco shops.

The supermarket giant said the move is due to Brits reducing their meat consumption, either turning to a vegan or vegetarian diet, or becoming “flexitarian” — a semi-vegetarian diet that allows meat in moderation.

Additions to the meat aisle include vegan and vegetarian food products by established names such as Heck, Vivera, Beyond Meat, and Vegetarian Butcher, Tesco said.

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The Waitrose Food and Drink Report, last published in November 2018, suggested one in eight Brits are now vegan or vegetarian, while one in five (21%) are actively trying to reduce their meat intake. This is supported by research from consumer intel company Kantar Worldpanel, which found 1% of UK households now include a vegan, while 5% include a vegetarian and 10% include a flexitarian.

Kantar suggested that intentional campaigns like Meat-Free Monday, which encourages people to not eat meat for a day to improve both their lives and the health of the planet, have contributed to the popularity of more plant-based diets.

The company also found that 150 million more meat-free dinners were sold during Veganuary, a campaign that encourages people to go vegan for the month of January, in 2019 than in 2018.

READ MORE: We got a vegan and meat-eater to try London’s first vegan “fish and chips” — here’s what they thought

Brits loaded up on more vegan and vegetarian products than ever before in 2018, spending over £1.3bn on what were previously seen as “specialist foods.”

The rise of eating more plant-based food and people becoming flexitarian is having a massive effect on the way many people shop and as a result the retail industry is having to adapt,” Derek Sarno, director of plant-based innovation at Tesco, said.

“We are seeing a new kind of shopper — more conscious of their own health and the environment, and perfectly happy to make dietary changes such as becoming vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian to achieve those aims.

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“Plant-based alternatives in general have become so high in quality that most life-long meat-eaters are now including these foods as part of their diet. It makes sense to range them next to each other in the same aisle and bring a wider breadth of options available to choose from.”

Tesco said it believes the “single biggest impact” it can make to promote health and sustainability in the next decade is “through taste,” by encouraging shoppers to enjoy a diet of more vegetables, less meat, and more plant-based alternatives.

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