Supermarkets encouraged to invest in vegan replacements as meat and milk sales drop

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Supermarkets are being encouraged to sell more vegan options after it has emerged that demand for meat and milk has fallen.

The Good Food Institute Europe (GFI Europe) has reported that plant-based foods have brought in €5.7 billion (£5.04 billion) across 13 European countries in 2022.

That number has gone up 22 percent since 2020, and increased demand for plant-based meat replacements have been a big reason for this jump.

Dairy-free cheese and plant-based seafood alternatives have also bolstered sales, whilst several animal proteins have seen falling sales figures.

vegan food increase sales europe gfi

There’s been a surge of demand for plant based food and drink (Credit: Alamy)

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“These figures show Europe’s appetite for plant-based foods is continuing to grow,” said Carlotte Lucas, senior corporate engagement manager at GFI Europe.

“European companies and governments have a critical role to play in supporting consumers to make more sustainable choices. Companies must continue investing in product innovation to develop delicious and affordable plant-based options.

“And governments must invest in the research and infrastructure we need to reduce prices and improve the quality of plant-based options, in order to deliver on their climate targets and enhance food security.”

The findings from the GFI demonstrated a real demand for plant-based alternatives.

vegan food increase sales europe gfi

Vegan aisles are more stocked than ever (Credit: Alamy)

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Vegan meat items sold at a 21 percent higher rate from 2020 to 2022, meanwhile, plant-based milk demand rose by 20 percent.

Meanwhile, non-dairy cheese was another big winner, seeing a 102 percent rise in sales between 2020 and 2022.

As more and more plant-based products hit the market, the sector reached a value of €144 million (£127 million), growing in sales at a whopping ten times the rate that normal cheese did.

Plant-based yoghurt saw a sales increase of 16 percent, too, while dairy yogurt’s demand fell by four percent.

vegan food increase sales europe gfi

Meat sales have slightly fallen in some areas (Credit: Alamy)

The analysis took place across the UK, Spain, Sweden, Romania, Poland, Portugal, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Denmark, Belgium and Austria.

Of course, it’s not surprising that plant-based foods are rising in demand across Europe whilst some of the meat and milk industries are slightly shrinking, seeing as people are being faced with more options than ever before.

Carlotte Lucas did add that “these sustainable options still represent a tiny proportion of the market,” so nobody should expect a drastic change to what is on shelves.

However, this is yet another sign that plant-based food isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s only getting more popular, and will continue to do so in the years to come.