COVID led people to eat more plant-based foods – and stick with it
19 December 2022
Pandemic triggered uptick in plant-based food consumption, ProVeg survey finds
A new report published today by global food awareness organisation, ProVeg International, has found that a significant number of people began eating more plant-based foods during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The report, called “How did Covid-19 impact diets around the UK?”, also found that the switch to more plant-based eating continued as the pandemic subsided.
In September 2022, ProVeg International surveyed 1,000 UK residents about their eating habits before, during, and after the pandemic in order to compile the report. The results were conclusive: our diets have changed, and it seems for the better.
The survey found that, during the height of the pandemic:
- 46% of people agreed or strongly agreed that their eating habits had changed substantially;
- 39% said they ate a greater variety of foods;
- 26% agreed or strongly agreed that they ate fewer animal-based foods;
- 26% of people agreed or strongly agreed that they ate more plant-based foods;
- 18% of people agreed or strongly agreed that they had both increased consumption of plant foods and decreased consumption of animal products; and
- Of this 18%, 70% agreed or strongly agreed that they had maintained their new eating habits since the end of COVID restrictions, while only 28% agreed or strongly agreed that they had returned to their old eating habits
“These results clearly illustrate a move towards eating more plant-based foods and a move away from animal-based products,” Stephane Jaczniakowska-McGirr, Head of Corporate Engagement at ProVeg, said. “With this in mind, the future certainly looks bright for dietary change in favour of more plant-based foods in the UK,” she said.
COVID impacted all areas of the food-supply chain, affecting farm production, food processing, logistics, and the transportation of supplies to stockists. As a direct result, consumers had to alter their purchasing habits and preferences, swapping some of their favourite foods for other options, and even trying some foods for the first time. Health motivations and a desire to enact compassion also led people to change their diet, along with the change in food availability.
“Although Covid-19 caused many negative impacts on people’s lives, it’s great to see that the pandemic has had a positive impact on people’s diets. It’s promising to see that many people increased their plant-based consumption during lockdown and have maintained this change moving forward,” Jaczniakowska-McGirr said.
Notes to Editors
For media inquiries, email Jasmine Barradell at [email protected]
About ProVeg International
ProVeg is an international food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal-based products with plant-based and cultured alternatives.
ProVeg works with international decision-making bodies, governments, food producers, investors, the media, and the general public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less dependent on animal agriculture and more sustainable for humans, animals, and the planet.
ProVeg has permanent-observer status with the UNFCCC, is accredited for UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award. ProVeg also has Observer Status at the IPCC.