Sales of tofu in the United Kingdom during the COVID-19 lockdown period (12 weeks leading up to June 2020) have increased by 81.7 percent according to market research firm Kantar Worldpanel. Sales of many vegan meat substitutes grew faster than overall UK grocery sales which rose by 13.7 percent during the research period. Ground vegan meat sales spiked by 50.1 percent, sales of vegan burgers were up by 37 percent, and plant-based sausage sales grew by 21.3 percent. “We’ve seen a boom in plant-based and meat-free products during lockdown as Sainsbury’s customers have taken the time to be more experimental and diversify their food choices,” a spokesperson for supermarket chain Sainsbury’s told The Telegraph.
The new research comes on the heels of a recent poll conducted by The Vegan Society that found one in five Brits are actively reducing their meat consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic. “After the unprecedented success of Veganuary and the swathes of new vegan products hitting the shelves in recent months, it’s no surprise that many consumers have made the switch to plant-based alternatives during the COVID-19 pandemic, whether that be for convenience, cost, or concern for their own wellbeing, the environment, and the rights of animals,” Matt Turner, a spokesperson for The Vegan Society, said. “Many Brits are trying these alternatives for the first time and enjoying them so much that they intend on keeping them in their shopping basket when we return to normal times.”
Stateside, sales of plant-based foods have had a similar upward tick during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic according to data published by trade group Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) and market research company SPINS. During mid-March—the peak of food-buying during the pandemic—sales of plant-based foods increased by 90 percent when compared to sales during the same time last year. In the four weeks that followed, plant-based food sales spiked by 27 percent, outpacing total retail food sales by 35 percent. The tofu and tempeh category grew by 88 percent (compared to last year’s data) during the pandemic peak-buying period and continued to grow by 35 percent for the following four weeks.