Six out of 10 UK adults say they are unlikely to take up a plant-based diet in 2021, according to survey

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7th January 2021 17:17 - Food

Six out of 10 UK adults say they are unlikely to take up a plant-based diet in 2021: A survey of Brits has found that while plant-based diets are becoming increasingly popular, 61% of UK adults polled in a survey have said they are unlikely to follow such a diet in 2021.

The nationally representative survey was conducted by YouGov for the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) and polled 2,018 adults. It found that those aged 45-54 were the least likely to be interested in a plant-based diet this year (66%), with 25-35-year-olds and those aged 55+ the 'most likely', each with 22% of respondents saying they would consider it.

The survey also revealed confusion with the term 'plant-based'. The majority of respondents said they believe a plant-based diet requires them to cut out meat and sometimes dairy completely, whereas 41% said it is a vegan diet. A fifth of respondents said that plant-based diets were akin to a vegetarian diet, while 8% said that they were not sure. 

A plant-based diet in fact means food is consumed primarily from plants, including fruits and vegetables as well as nuts, oils, whole grains, seeds, beans and legumes, but it does not necessarily mean that you are vegan or vegetarian, or that you completely abstain from meat and dairy.

When respondents were asked why a person would follow a plant-based diet, the most popular answer was 'because they don't agree with eating meat' (53%), followed by they think it is 'more environmentally sustainable' (52%). Just over two fifths (42%) said it is because a plant-based diet is 'healthier'.

When asked which plant-based foods they eat once a month, more than half said 'nuts' (51%), followed by chickpeas (50%), while younger respondents were more in favour of processed alternatives such as Quorn (26% of 18-24 year-olds) and meat free burgers/sausage (33% of 25-34-year-olds). 

A quarter of respondents (25%) said they do not regularly eat any of the plant-based foods listed in the survey. 

Sara Stanner, the BNF’s Science Director said: “We have seen significant growth of interest in plant-based diets in recent years, influenced by both health and environmental concerns. Diets rich in plant foods have many health benefits including providing micronutrients, fibre, fruits and vegetables. However, animal foods such as meat, dairy, eggs and fish are important sources of a number of minerals and vitamins, so it’s important to balance the diet to make sure we’re getting everything we need."

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