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State of the nation's plate revealed

21 June 2017

Health-conscious Brits embrace 'flexitarianism' & food trends in a bid to become healthy over skinny

  • Health concerns, sustainable living, social media & foodie trends motivate Brits to shake up eating habits
  • Brits now value being healthy over being slim: three-fifths prioritise health gains above weight loss when changing up their diets
  • Research exposes rising interest in sustainable eating: three-quarters claim eating better for the planet is important to them 'flexitarian' meat-free eating habits officially hit the mainstream
  • 55% of social media users post pictures of their meals at least once a week

New research reveals Britons are finally sitting up and taking notice of health warnings, as a huge 70% of British adults claim to have revamped their typical weekly diet to become healthier, according to a poll of over 2,000 Brits, commissioned by Quorn foods.

Brits are now officially ditching the scales and prioritising their health gains and wellbeing over weight loss and excessive dieting. 64% of those polled cited improving their health as the main reason for the dietary changes, compared to only 51% who admitted to weight loss as a key motivation.

Indeed, it seems the previously emerging ‘flexitarian’ and healthier meat reduction diets are now officially entering the mainstream, with 61% of the nation already eating meat-free dishes week in, week out. Just 28% claim to need meat in the majority of their weekly dishes, with 83% of British families now enjoying a meat-free dinner at least once a week. When asked why we’re making the major change and embracing meat free eating as a day to day habit – 36% of those polled did so for health reasons, closely followed by a quarter (26%) citing eating better for planet and animal welfare. Price and cost came in third place (13%).

Recent research conducted by Kantar support the claims, with the World Panel revealing Britons choosing to consume less meat had risen by 2.2 million in the past two years alone.

The wider health claims made by those polled are also encouraging. The most common dietary change was to eat more fruit and vegetables (43%), whilst over a third of adults have cut down on their sugar (36%) intake in the past two years. Over a quarter (27%) have reduced their portion sizes.

The research also revealed we’re a nation of fully fledged social media ‘food-porn’ fanatics. 55% of all social media users will post a picture of their food at least once a week, with a fifth revealing they’ll post up to three times in just one week. Shockingly, 14% admitted they’d even ordered or purchased specific foods just so they could post about them on social media. To date, there has been nearly 5.7m #avocado on Instagram, compared to just 344k for #brexit. So-called ‘food trends’ and ‘fads’ are also driving the change and inspiring Brits to experiment in the kitchen, as half claimed to buying and trying out recent food trends, such as coconut oil and ‘courgetti’, in their own kitchens. Over half believe incorporating these food trends into their diet will help them become healthier (53%) and one in ten will continue their ‘superfood’ purchases next year.

2018 will continue to see changes with 66% of Brits planning to make further changes to their eating habits in the next year. When questioned about the changes they would like to make, it’s clear sustainability is a real concern for modern households, with three-quarters (73%) stating that eating sustainable foods for the benefit of the planet was important to them. Over a quarter (26%) are already actively looking to waste less food, closely followed a fifth (19%) revealing they will be buying more local produce.

It would also appear children are taking more of an interest in what they’re eating. 38% of parents revealed their children had expressed a concern over what is put on the dinner table, with ‘where has it come from’ and ‘how has it been cooked’ now common questions over British teatime. A quarter revealed their child has expressed an interest in healthy eating, so much so that nearly half of all parents (46%) now take more care in the nutritional value of what their children eat over themselves.

Peter Harrison, Marketing Director at Quorn Foods said of the findings: “It’s great to see British tea tables becoming healthier, but particularly how the UK is taking a serious interest in eating sustainably. Making a small change such as enjoying a meat-free meal a couple of times a week can genuinely have a huge impact, and it’s fantastic to see more Brits already adopting flexitarian eating patterns for the benefit of both their own health and the planets.

It is now recognised on a global scale that we cannot meet current demand for food production. Recent research from WWF has revealed that if we keep going the way we are and continue to eat this much meat, we’ll need three planets to sustain us. Eating the foods we’re eating, at the rate we’re eating them just isn’t feasible long term. Quorn is extremely passionate about providing sustainable nutrition that helps consumers create great tasting meals using products that result in low carbon emissions, a low water footprint and are better for the planet. It’s reassuring to see the research echoes our own ambitions.”

For more information please contact lon-quorn@ketchum.com or 020 3755 6670

About Quorn®:

Quorn Foods is a global market leader in healthy, sustainable protein. Headquartered in Stokesley, North Yorkshire, the company offers a wide range of great-tasting products to appeal to the rapidly expanding group of people wanting to reduce their meat consumption. The company employs around 600 people and exports to 16 countries around the world, including Australia, South Africa and the USA. Quorn is one of the UK’s top 50 FMCG brands. Quorn Foods Ltd is the reporting group which includes a main trading company, Marlow Foods Ltd. Quorn Foods Ltd encompasses all international operations of Quorn and Cauldron.