British families want to ‘tread lightly’ on the planet when deciding what to eat – turning away from meat and materialism and towards compassion and simplicity, according to a new study.
A third are eating less meat and fish than two years ago, with as many planning to reduce their consumption even more over the next two years.
The figures come from the annual Waitrose Food & Drink report, which charts the buying and eating patterns of their customers.
Concerns about the environment – as evidenced by the Extinction Rebellion protests and the backlash against plastic packaging – are rising to the top of the nation’s shopping lists.
Waitrose have unveiled their Food&Drink report to chart the buying and eating habits of their customers, revealing that crumpet sales are up by 27 per cent as more Brits eat at home
Meanwhile foods including seaweed and kelp have risen in popularity as consumers turn to the sea for their culinary inspiration
Trendy food trucks and hipster kebab stores have also given risen to a boom in skewered foods, with sales of metal skewers up 9 per cent
The report found that what it calls ‘mindful spending’ is on the up, with 50 per cent of us now buying fewer than one hot drink out per week, as we become more conscious of both the cost and the fact the throwaway cups, with their plastic lining, cannot be easily recycled.
Similarly, almost half are buying fewer lunches out, instead bringing in our own food from home, and 36 per cent are considering spending their money more carefully.
The report found it is becoming ‘cool to be kind’, with some 17 per cent saying they cook for others more now than did five years ago – whether baking for a charity event or fete, making food to help friends or family, or taking cake to work for colleagues.
Meanwhile the popular influencer drink of celery juice appears to be impacting sales, with customers flocking to the green salad vegetable
Made from toasted and ground sesame seeds, tahini has skyrocketed in popularity, with searches on Waitrose website up 700 per cent on last year
Noodles are in vogue! Easy, delicious and fun to cook, the simple ingredient is another which has risen in popularity over the past year
It said: ‘The number of flexitarians in the UK continues to rise. A third of Brits are eating less meat and fish than two years ago, and 32 per cent plan to reduce their consumption even more over the next two years.
‘More than a quarter of us (26 per cent) say that we plan to look for better quality meat or fish while limiting how often we buy it.
‘Shoppers are most likely to choose free-range, British meat, with the top factors influencing purchase being sourcing, provenance and welfare standards.’
The store has also seen a rise of 37 per cent in the number of visits to their web page which covers the store’s animal welfare policy.
Waitrose has made huge efforts to boost is plant based foods with, for example, the recent launch of an own-label vegan bacon.
Significantly, the company parted company with the editor of the store’s customer magazine, William Sitwell, who is also a BBC Masterchef judge, last year after he ridiculed vegans and waspishly joked about killing them ‘one by one’.
The Waitrose managing director, Rob Collins, said: ‘Our findings this year point to a move away from materialism, and towards a rise in compassion and simplicity in British lifestyles.
‘It seems that, as the world beyond our front doors becomes increasingly complicated, people are doubling down on the things that really matter. Households are decluttering to focus on the values – and people – that mean the most to them.’
The report also highlights the food trends that have taken off during the year from ‘Seacuterie’ to celery juice, posh crumpets and crisps, tahini, Middle East dishes cooked at home and drinks with a tinge of pink.