According to a Sky News article 1 , Waitrose has recently commissioned research into how many of their customers are now vegetarian or vegan, as well as how many are cutting down on buying meat at their stores.
Some positive moves by this supermarket chain, specifically the Waitrose ‘Food Police‘, were discussed in a previous blog 2 . Here, we see how they are continuing to make some welcome moves towards informing the readers of their Food Magazine about the changes towards plant-based diets that appear to be occurring within their customer base.
- 1/3rd of people in the UK are now trying to reduce their meat consumption or eat none at all
- this is considered to be significant shift towards plant-based eating in the UK
- 1 in 8 now identify themselves as vegetarian or vegan
- 9.5% vegetarian
- 3% vegan
- 60% of these individuals have stopped eating meat & dairy within the past 5 years
- The Vegan Society claims 3 that the demand for meat-free food in supermarkets increased by 987% last year 4
- Mintel reports 5 that non-dairy milk sales have tripled since 2015
- Increasing numbers of fast food restaurants (including Pizza Express 6 , Byron 7 , and Wetherspoon 8 ) now offer extensive vegan menus
- 1/5th of Waitrose consumers describe themselves as “flexitarian“
Reasons for dietary change
- 55% – concern about animal welfare
- 45% – concern about human health
- 38% – concern about the environmental impact of animal farming
Waitrose MD, Rob Collins, is quoted in the article:
“Being mindful of how we live and eat has become a priority in today’s world…As we become increasingly mindful of our own health, the well-being of our family and that of the planet, we’re reshaping how we shop, cook and eat.”
…but, I’m not sure that I see a lot of evidence of people giving priority to the health implications of the food they habitually eat. If there is an increased ‘mindfulness‘ it probably exists within a fair amount of widespread cognitive dissonance9 .
You may have come across a recent bit of media gossip10 about the (now) ex-editor of Waitrose Food magazine, William Sitwell, who had to resign because he sent an email out in which he made a joke about “killing vegans“.
I’m in two minds about whether William Sitwell’s comments should have been treated so seriously. I have a pretty flexible attitude towards black humour, so maybe I’m not the best judge.
However, it does seem crazy that someone who makes such comments attracts the ire of the public whilst the huge multi-national conglomerates (Big Agriculture, Big Food, Big Pharma), that are responsible for virtually poisoning whole generations of the world’s human populations with their toxic foods, are protected from criticism and exposure by federal laws in countries like the USA 11 , while at the same time receiving massive financial subsidies from taxpayers so that they can continue their highly profitable destruction of health, the environment and animals’ lives.
In any event, the tide appears to be turning slowly towards a greater consciousness of the absolute necessity of transitioning to a plant-based diet. Any positive efforts by the likes of Waitrose are, therefore, to be applauded – although I fear it may all be too little, too late (see Cowspiracy 13 for some shocking details)…
- Sky News 1st October 2018: One third of Brits cutting down on meat, Waitrose survey finds
- Waitrose Food Police
- The Vegan Society: plant-based statistics for 2017
- Just Eat Article: Plant-based diet 2018
- MINTEL: US NON-DAIRY MILK SALES GROW 61% OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS
- Pizza Express: Vegan Menu
- Byron: Vegan/Vegetarian Burgers
- Weatherspoon: Vegan Menu
- Definition of cognitive dissonance: the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioural decisions and attitude change.
- Sky News 31st October 2018: Waitrose magazine editor William Sitwell quits over ‘killing vegans’ email
- Wikipedia: Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
- The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone
- Cowspiracy Facts