UK sees record sales of plant-based foods as Veganuary proves more popular than ever, dunnhumby reports


dunnhumby, the global leader in customer data science, has released UK shopper data from the last week which shows a boom in plant-based food sales, as many consumers switch to meat and dairy alternatives for January.

The data, taken from the past week’s shopper receipts across the top nine UK grocery retailers, shows a significant increase in sales of meat and dairy alternatives with shoppers embracing Veganuary and reducing their meat and dairy consumption.

Sales of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives have increased 50% year-on-year in the first week of January, representing a record £12m in sales for the plant-based food and drink category. The increase has been largely driven by shoppers exploring new ranges, with nearly 31% more shoppers buying foods from the ‘meat and dairy alternatives’ category for the first time.

David Halls, director of dunnhumby Beyond said: “These early results from the first full week of the year suggest we’re on for a record month for plant-based food in UK supermarkets. The high level of new shoppers in this category sets a strong platform for continued growth in 2021.”

Meat’s off the menu

When asked their main reasons for participating in Veganuary, almost half of respondents (47%) cited the health benefits of cutting out meat and dairy. Almost one in three (29%) were participating to highlight animal welfare issues.

Toni Vernelli, head of communications at Veganuary, adds: “Whether driven by concerns for animal welfare, the planet or health improvements, one thing is certain — veganism is a trend that keeps on trending. This new data shows that businesses which do not embrace the plant-based revolution risk becoming increasingly out of touch with what shoppers expect.”

The longer-term prospects for meat and dairy alternatives look promising, with 94% of people participating in Veganuary saying they intend to cut back on eating meat and dairy beyond January, a strong indication of long-term changes to consumption habits

“We are delighted to see more and more consumers dipping their toes into a plant-based diet during Veganuary,” says James Cornish, Category Commercial Director at plant-based food producer Revolution Kitchen. “We know that many choose to do so for their health or sustainability. While for some it may be a permanent change, for others we hope this gives them the opportunity to find easy swaps they can do all year round.”

Up-to-date shopper data

dunnhumby Beyond provides the most up-to-date measurement of the UK grocery market, combining insights on purchasing behaviour with attitudinal research from over 200k shoppers who have downloaded the HuYu app.