2022 is seeing the vegan and plant based trend accelerate

2022 is seeing the vegan and plant-based trend accelerate

Over the last few years, the plant-based trend has been growing at pace, with an increasing number of consumers eating meat-free foods. This growth has largely been driven by the flexitarian movement, where consumers substitute meat-centred meals for meat-free options once or twice a week. We have previously found in a project we did for Market Fresh that there are three key motivating factors for the flexitarian diet:

  1. Personal health: the main driver
  2. Environmental impact: Growing awareness of the impact of meat production on the environment
  3. Animal welfare: the traditional driver that still plays a role

Veganism has also become more popular in recent years. Veganuary, an introduction to the diet for many, saw a record-breaking number of Veganuary sign-ups with a 200% sign-up increase in 3 years (VegFund).

The plant based trend continues to accelerate

What our research has told us about the evolving plant based trend in the UK

At Spark Emotions, we saw a similar trend as part of our Mood of the Nation report in January 2022. More UK adults followed a specific diet in January (25%) compared to the same time last year (18%). To see the full January report, click here.

In a recent June 2022 Mood of the Nation report, we saw that plant-based foods are a more common purchase this year for BBQs, especially for Millennials (41%), in comparison to older generations like Gen X (33%). Here we see shoppers thinking differently about a traditionally meat-led food event. To see the full June report, click the link here or below.

How can you help?

Based on our supermarket shopper index, 1 in 3 products are shopped while in System 1 (autopilot), and only 1 in 4 packs are read in any detail. Further to this, almost 1 in 2 shoppers is making a Considered choice, where they largely know what they want, and might be choosing between a few products in their consideration set.

All of this makes cutting through the noise in aisle harder, particularly for new products in a relatively new category. If your product doesn’t have standout, then it will just become wallpaper in the aisle.

Understanding how shoppers currently shop the plant-based categories in store will allow you to optimise your product offering.

How can we help?

At Spark Emotions, we are experts in understanding the behaviour that drives conversion in store. Our Category Insight utilises a balance of the “What?” and “Why?” of behaviour in order to develop the most complete picture of what your shopper is thinking in the wider category.

Our team can also help identify a new, upcoming plant based trend to ensure you are ahead of your competition through our Foundational Market Diagnostics. This has been designed by our team of industry leaders and consumer psychologists to help our clients understand what is happening in their current (or potential) markets.

To find out more, why not contact one of the team using the form below for a no-obligation introduction to Spark Emotions.

Enter your details below and we’ll get right back to you.


Written by Scott Willey, Associate Director at Spark Emotions
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Scott via email scott.willey@sparkemotions.com or connect with him on LinkedIn