Retail and consumer insights from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) have revealed a drop in the number of households that bought meat and dairy alternatives this January.

More than a million fewer households bought meat-free products in January 2023 compared to January 2022, with only 13.7% buying one.

This, the AHDB said, is in stark contrast to the figure of 96.4% of households that bought meat, fish or poultry in the first three weeks of the year.

The volume sold of dairy alternative products in January also dropped by 2.6% compared to last year, with the board saying that “growth in demand for milk alternatives has softened over the past 12 months”.

AHDB has said that the main reason for this is possibly due to the price, as alternatives remain a more expensive option than cow’s milk.


AHDB has said that British consumers are turning away from participating in Veganuary – a challenge where people try to eat vegan for the month of January – as they begin to “buckle under the weight of increased economic pressures”.

According to AHDB consumer insight manager, Susie Stannard, interest in Veganuary as measured by Google trends, which measures search, has nearly halved since “peak-vegan” in 2019.

Since then, she said, the annual peak in interest has gradually dropped off, with people now more interested in terms such as ‘dry January’.

According to figures from commercial insight and social impact analyst IGD, 7% of shoppers started taking part in Veganuary at the start of January.

This uplift in vegan shoppers was short-lived, AHDB said, as seven out of 10 of them returned to their original diets by the two-week mark.

Of those who stopped, 40% said it was due to alternatives being too expensive while a further 40% said they couldn’t find a food or drink they enjoyed.