Veggie boom sees three billion fewer meaty meals eaten annually in the UK since 2005 | Viva!

Veggie boom sees three billion fewer meaty meals eaten annually in the UK since 2005

New DEFRA slaughter figures show dramatic drop in meat consumption

Release date: 
Thursday, May 31, 2012

A MASSIVE three billion* fewer meaty meals were eaten in Britain in 2011 when compared to 2005, according to new government statistics released this week.
Agriculture in the UK, 2011, reveals that the average person is eating around 47 fewer meat-based dishes annually compared to in 2005.
The news is being welcomed by leading vegetarian campaigning group Viva!, who say the figures are proof that more people than ever before are turning their backs on meat, for ethical, environmental and health reasons.
Viva! campaigns director, Justin Kerswell, says: “It is excellent news for animals, the environment and the country’s health that so much less meat is being eaten. The overall trend in meat consumption continues to drop – falling by 23,000 tonnes between 2010 and 2011.
“However, an even starker example of how Britain is losing its taste for meat is when you compare consumption in 2005 and 2011: annual consumption is down by a massive 134,000 tonnes.”
As the UK population has increased by over two million in that time, Viva! argue that this decrease is actually much bigger.
“Five years ago, 31 million people were recorded as eating vegetarian most of the time**, so taking into account these new figures, it is clear this trend continues to grow. Time and time again studies prove that eating less meat is the most effective thing anyone can do to help the environment*** and improve their health****. Coupled with consumers’ increasing distain of factory farming, it is no surprise that eating meat-free meals is becoming part of everyday life for many people.” adds Mr Kerswell.
The new government report shows that last year, 695,000 fewer land animals overall were slaughtered in Britain compared to 2010.
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ENDS information: 

Notes to Editors For more information about this media release, please contact Justin Kerswell on 0117 944 1000 or by emailing

Read the report: Agriculture in the UK

* The actual amount of meals (based on a 100g serving of meat) is 2,938,766,400 fewer in 2011 than 2005. This is based on the estimated resident population of the UK of 62,262,000 as of mid-2010 (latest figures). Total new supply of meat (which Defra agrees is an indication of consumption levels and takes into account import and export figures) show a fall of 134,000 tonnes annually between 2005 and 2011(around 3 per cent). This despite the UK population growing by over 2 million in that time. Further breakdown and analysis of the figures available on request. **According to Mintel (2006), 5-6 per cent of the population is now vegetarian and the number is rising. A 2007 survey for Linda McCartney Foods, found that around 10 per cent of Brits eat no red meat, and there is a huge amount of ‘meat reducers’, with 31 million people eating vegetarian most of the time.

***Eat less meat to prevent climate disaster, study warns, Guardian, 2012

**** Red Meat Consumption and Mortality, Archives of Internal Medicine, 2012: