Meat and dairy products were a “hit” with consumers in January, according to Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

Red meat and dairy has seen an increase in demand in January 2023, compared to the demand for dairy-free or meat-free products in January 2022.

This drop in vegan products resulted in some retailers attempting to position plant-based products with health-focused messaging within stores this year.

The cost of living crisis can be attributed to a large proportion of the 12.8% and 3.8% year-on-year volume decline for vegan products.

Tom Price, retail and consumer insight analyst at AHDB, said:

“Media coverage has recently focused in on the negative nutritional values of ultra-processed foods, which is putting many consumers off eating these products.

“This provides an opportunity to promote the health benefits of meat and dairy to align with consumer values. AHDB continue to promote red meat and dairy.”

This is because meat- and dairy-free products are 3.3% and 18.4% more expensive than animal products.

However, due to retailers focusing on health messaging, volumes for all plant-based dairy products were up 6.4% for the four weeks of January 2024.

Efforts to try and increase the pick-up of vegan products during this health-focused month were “not very successful”, as the percentage of baskets with meat-free products fell 0.4%, according to the AHDB.

This indicates that consumers’ interest in meat free products is declining, despite attempts to market them as “healthy” following the indulgent Christmas period.

According to The Grocer, just 28% of UK adults attempting Veganuary actually complete it, and most are unlikely to continue purchasing meat-free products for the rest of the year.

This suggests consumers have a “fleeting interest” in a vegan lifestyle, and vegan products are not a big threat to the meat industry at this point in time.

While it is likely that new plant-based product development will be limited, according to AHDB, meat and dairy may still face competition from alternative products.