Public Attitudes / Consumer Behaviour

YouGov Survey commissioned by Eating Better Alliance – November 2013

     1,819 British adult respondents

  • 25% British public have cut back on meat in the past year
  • 34% are willing to consider eating less meat
  • There has been a significant increase in the awareness of the environmental impact of eating meat, from 14% in 2007 to 31% in 2013
  • Young people in particular have increased their awareness from 8% in 2007 to 40% in 2013
  • 17% of young people don’t eat any meat at all
  • Animal welfare was the primary concern for people considering eating less meat
  • There is a growing market for meat-free eating
YouGov Survey commissioned by Quorn Foods - April 2013

      2,072 respondents

  • Meat-free sales have soared in wake of the horsemeat scandal.    
  • 18% (nearly 1 in 5 people) claimed to have been put off eating meat by the scandal.
  • 15% were more likely to eat meat alternatives.
  • 22% felt personally affected by the scandal.
Research by The Food People, commissioned by Linda McCartney Foods - Jan 2013
  • This research predicts that the number of vegetarians in Britain will increase from 5% of the population to 10% in the next 2 years.
  • There will be a notable rise in 'flexitarianism' - the trend of eating less meat and more vegetables without adopting full vegetarianism.
  • There has been a seismic shift in attitudes towards celebrating vegetables and opting to eat less meat. They expect meat free eating and flexitarianism to soon be a mega trend.
  • The UK can expect to see more vegetarian restaurants, more omnivorous restaurants providing creative meat free options, more pre-prepared vegetarian convenience food in supermarkets, and an overall greater acceptance of vegetarian diets and their asociated benefits.
Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) Students' attitudes to animal welfare and rights in Europe and Asia - 2012 - Animal Welfare 21: 87-100

       3,433 student responses from at least 103 universities

  • Students rated the acceptability of 43 major concerns about animals (e.g.killing animals, using animals for work, medical experiments using animals to improve human health, cloning animals)
  • Students from European countries had more concern for animal welfare than students from Asian countries. This may partly be explained by increased affluence of European students as there was a positive correlation between student expenditure and concern for animal welfare and rights.
  • Southern and central European countries had most concern for animal rights and unnatural practices.
  • Those in communist or former communist countries in Asia and Europe had most concern about killing animals.
  • There were national and continental differences in European and Asian students' attitudes to animals' welfare and rights, which appear to arise as a result of the socio-political situation in regions, rather than religious or other differences
Cauldron Foods / MMR Research Worldwide – Vegetarian Survey - 2010

6,000 adult consumers questioned, of which 228 were actual vegetarians:

  • Vegetarians are much more likely than meat eaters to consider a broad range of ethical criteria across their shopping baskets, such as recyclable packaging, sustainable production, fair trade, carbon rating, food miles and also natural, low fat, wholegrain, organic food.
  • Around 25% of vegetarians were unimpressed with the vegetarian ranges offered at supermarkets
  • 76% of vegetarians were not happy with the choice available to them in fast food restaurants.
  • 10% of lapsed vegetarians have moved away from a vegetarian lifestyle, primarily due to concerns over health and nutrition.
  • Vegetarians are 27% more likely to buy vitamin and mineral supplements than non-vegetarians
Food Standards Agency (FSA) People’s Attitudes to Food Technologies Surveyed - 2010
  • Five per cent (out of over 2,000 people, 18 years and older) claimed to be vegetarian or vegan, with women being more likely to adopt this diet (6% compared to 3% men).
  • Non-white respondents avoided certain foods more than white respondents for two reasons; they are more likely to be vegetarian or vegan (12% compared to 4%) and more likely to avoid food for religious reasons (32% compared to 1%) than white respondents.
  • Individuals on higher incomes were more likely to be vegetarian (7% of those with a household income of over £44,000 per annum compared to 2% of those with an income of less than £14,999 per annum).
  • Factors that influenced food choices included; a vegetarian diet or food for special dietary requirements (10%), the impact the food has on the landscape where it was produced (9%) and presentation, packaging, advertising and brand of food products (8%). 
Food Standards Agency (FSA) ‘Public Attitudes to Food issues’ - 2009

3,219 people were interviewed face to face:

  • When choosing what food to eat within the home 60% were eating healthy food, 55% chose value for money foods and 21% chose food that was free-range or had higher animal welfare in mind. 
  • The percentage of people choosing food with animal welfare in mind when eating out decreased to 10%.
  • With regards to healthy eating, the most common changes were people trying to eat more fruit and vegetables (35%).
IDG Retail Analysis, ‘Shopping Trends 2009: Food Shopping in a recession’ - 2009
  • 20% of main shoppers were driven by animal welfare standards. This figure was up 7% on the previous year along with the number of shoppers eating five portions of fruit and vegetables and food containing more fibre.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) “Survey of Public Attitudes and Behaviours toward the Environment: 2007”
  • 57% of respondents believe that the government ought to be doing more about animal welfare.
  • Re: the amount of thought given to farm animal welfare - 16% thought a great deal, 24% thought a fair amount, 37% thought a little and 22% had not really given this issue any thought before.  37% of people said that they were happy with all or most aspects of farm animal welfare in this county.
  • Those not happy were prompted with a list of specific issues and asked which was their biggest concern. 30% said “how animals are kept on the farm”, 28% said “how they are transported”, and 19% said “exporting of live animals”.
RSPCA Freedom Foods (IDG) ‘Consumer attitudes to animal welfare’ UK 2007
  • 1,000 British adult shoppers from different age groups and regions in the UK surveyed.
  • 64% of consumers have considered animal welfare when buying food with 10% claiming that they buy all higher welfare foods within their weekly shopping.
  • 36% of consumers identify themselves as shoppers who do not buy any higher welfare foods.
  • Over 50% of the population is currently making at least one or two purchase decisions as a result of their attitude to animal welfare standards.
  • 20% cited animal welfare standards as the primary driver of choice when purchasing higher welfare foods, with health and naturalness being dominant as a secondary purchase driver.
‘The Eurobarometer Attitudes of EU citizens towards Animal Welfare’ 2007.
  • 56% of UK shoppers (62% across the EU) would abandon their usual supermarket for higher animal welfare standards.
  • 68% of UK citizens (77% across the EU) think that farm animal welfare needs improving.
  • Results from this survey show that this information needs to be improved with just over half of all respondents (53%) say that they cannot easily find this information and a similar proportion (54%) saying that food labels do not enable them to make the identification.

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