I recently tuned into Great British Chefs’ webinar ‘A Health Revolution’ which focused on the eating preferences and habits of British ‘Foodies’.
Great British Chefs have categorised Foodies into three groups – ‘Committed Foodie’, ‘Weekend Foodie’, and ‘Home Cook’ (which would you describe yourself as?), and these three groups account for 13.6 million people in the UK (about 30%).
The webinar revealed research into eating habits when it comes to meat
- More than half (55%) of Committed Foodies in July said that they were actively trying to eat less meat in a bid to eat more healthily – significantly higher than the national figure of 42%
- This then raised the question of how many people were choosing to make more of their meals plant-based, instead of meat-based, which concluded that it was 51% of foodies and 34% nationally.
The webinar also looked at the rising trend of veganism and vegetarianism. While vegetarianism is growing and is widely understood; there are actually only a very small number of strict vegetarians, and this number is even smaller for strict vegans (less than 1% of Brits identify as strict vegans). There is however, a trend in people eating more and more vegetarian dishes. This trend is most common in foodies and, perhaps surprisingly, is not driven by millennials.
‘Foodies’ are eating more plant-based meals for health reasons and the same goes for eating vegetarian and vegan meals. The drive for eating vegetarian and vegan meals is not so much for ethical or environmental reasons, but rather the health benefits eating a varied diet brings.
The webinar highlighted that the most important thing for most foodies is still that the meals taste good. It was clear that meat-eaters would not eat a plant-based alternative of items such as cheese, unless it tasted better than dairy cheese. The questions also highlighted that vegans would not want to eat ‘pretend’, plant-based meat such as tofu and soy-based products (which appear to be on trend with retailers and food service), but meat-eaters who wanted to cut down might choose the plant-based option because of its health benefits.
Overall, the webinar showed that ‘foodies’ are trying harder than the average Brit to live more healthily, by making simple lifestyle choices like eating more plant-based meals. Brands who want to target these audiences might do so, by finding ways of ethically sourcing and processing, and by offering foods that should provide a supplement for the nutrients people are missing out on when they do not eat meat, such as protein).