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New study: 3 in 10 consumers have cut back on meat
New research has found that three in ten people in the UK have reduced the amount of meat they have eaten in the past 12 months.
The findings from NatCen’s British Social Attitudes survey show that a further one in ten said they were considering reducing their meat intake or cutting meat out completely when answering questions commissioned by the Vegetarian Society. In addition, some 44% said they either did not eat meat, have reduced the amount of meat they eat, or are considering reducing the amount of meat they consume.
The analysis found that a significant number of people from all groups in society have made changes to their diet but certain groups were more likely to say they had reduced the amount of meat they have eaten in the last year.
The study found that 34% of women polled said they had reduced their meat intake compared to 23% of men.
In addition, older people were more likely to have reduced their meat consumption with 39% of 65-79 year olds having done so, compared to 19% of 18-24 year olds.
As well as asking people about their meat-eating habits, researchers also asked people who had given up meat, reduced their intake or were thinking about doing so, what had influenced their decision.
Some 58% of people in this group cited health reasons as a reason for consuming less meat. Other reasons for reducing meat consumption included saving money, concerns over animal welfare, concerns around food safety in relation to meat, and environmental concerns.
Ian Simpson, senior researcher at NatCen Social Research, said: “Many people in Britain are clearly concerned about eating too much meat and the primary driver of this concern appears to be concerns about health. High-profile news stories, like research highlighting the health risks of processed meat and the horse meat scandal, could be behind this behaviour, as may Department of Health guidance around reducing meat consumption.“