Three-quarters of the British public describe themselves as meat eaters
In 2021 the Climate Change Committee advised that people should reduce meat-eating not only for their health, but also for the planet. High consumption of red and processed meat can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers while production of meat worldwide is responsible for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions – twice the amount of plant-based food production.
A new YouGov survey shows that almost three-quarters of Britons (73%) best describe themselves as meat eaters, with eight in ten men (80%) saying they eat meat compared to two-thirds of women (66%).
Flexitarians, who are mainly vegetarian but occasionally eat meat or fish, account for one in eight (12%) of the British public (8% of men and 15% of women) while a further 6% say they are vegetarians. Another 3% are pescatarians while veganism is practised by only 2% of Britons.
The younger Britons are, the less likely they are to say they eat meat, with 77% of those aged 45 and over describing themselves as meat eaters compared to 53% of 18-24 year olds.
A vegetarian diet is most popular among the younger generation. One in nine Britons aged 18 to 24 (11%) do not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish or shellfish – more than double the share of those aged 55 and over who say they are vegetarians (4%).
While only 2% of Britons describe their diet as vegan (no dairy products, eggs, or any other animal product) a further 3% say they are likely to challenge themselves to following a vegan-only diet and lifestyle throughout January.
The younger generation are more likely to take up the challenge, with one in eight Britons aged 18 to 24 who aren’t vegans (12%) saying they’ll attempt a vegan lifestyle for the month of January compared to just 1-4% of the older age groups.