Consumers are increasingly likely to be a meat, fish or poultry (MFP) non-avoiders or flexitarians due to the rise in food prices, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has said.

The board said the latest trends within the Great British population have revealed 72% to be MFP non-avoiders and 23.4% to be flexitarians.

It said this is a result of the rise in food prices since 2021 and the impact it has had on the cost of living.

This data highlights that flexitarians driven by cost are likely to be older families or retirees on a lower income, who claim their red meat consumption was motivated by enjoyment with a strong emphasis on treating, AHDB said.

This is in comparison to flexitarians that are not cost driven, who are typically over 55 years, have more disposable income and, compared to the other group, are more likely to consume red meat because it is quick to prepare.

AHDB retail and consumer insight manager, Vanessa Adamson, said it is no surprise that dietary preferences have changed over time, as they are influenced by many factors.

These include health and differing lifestyles alongside economic considerations.

Meat, fish and poultry

Typically, 56.9% of main meals eaten at home contain meat, fish or poultry, this is in comparison to vegetarian meals (including eggs or dairy) at 24.8% and plant-based meals at 18.3%.

The total number of meals eaten within the home has decreased by 2% year on year due to more people returning to the office, consumers eating on the go or treating themselves to a meal out, Adamson said.

“When looking closer at the types of meals eaten within the home, we can see that meat-based meals have declined by just -1.2%, compared to vegetarian meals at -2.4% and vegan meals at -0.8% year on year.”

The number of consumers eating meat, fish or poultry (MFP non-avoider) remains consistent with last year at 72% of GB population, Adamson said. 

“There has been a slight increase in vegetarians from 5.8% to 6.4% penetration, whilst the number of vegans has remained the same at 0.8%,” she said.