16% of supermarket ready meals are plant-based - a significant increase from just two years ago, reveals poll

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17th September 2020 12:32 - Food

16% of supermarkets ready meals are plant-based - a significant increase from just two years ago:  A study of supermarket ready meals has found that 16% of those on offer at the UK's 11 leading supermarkets are now plant-based - this is a significant rise from just two years ago where it was just 3%. The research also found that nearly a quarter of ready meals now sold in supermarkets are suitable for vegetarians. 

Conducted by Eating Better (an alliance of over 60 organisations accelerating action for less and better meat and dairy), the research looked at 2404 ready meals - both own brand and branded, available at supermarkets. It also used data from foodDB - a real-time database of food and drink products available online in the UK. Where online data was not available, fieldwork was conducted in-store.

Although there has been clear advances in the availabilty of plant-based ready meals, the survey found that 84% taken from the 2020 sample contained meat, fish or cheese, with 68% containing meat. Seven out of 10 vegetarian ready meals contained cheese, while 24% were either vegetarian or plant-based.

The Ready Meals Snapshot 2020 survey found that the supermarket/online retailer with the best offering of plant-based and vegetarian meals was Ocado, with just 47% of its ready meal products being meat-based. Waitrose were second, with 64% of ready meals 'meat-based', followed by Tesco (67%), Asda (68%), Sainsbury's (69%) and Morrisons (70%).

Retailers making progress

Compared to the same survey in 2018, some retailers have made progress in their offering of vegetarian or plant-based ready meals, the research found. Tesco rose from 15% in 2018 to 25% in the latest survey, while Asda climbed from 13% to 25% and Morrisons from 12%  to 25%. Aldi has also increased its offering of plant-based and vegetarian ready meal options growing from 9% to 19% in the latest research.

The cost of ready meals in 2020

When it comes to cost, vegetarian meals were found to be the cheapest per portion at £2.07, followed by plant-based (£2.46), meat (£2.48) and fish (£2.72). However, at Tesco, Sainsbury's, CO-OP and Iceland, plant-based meals were the most expensive meal type, the research found. 




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