Food & Beverage

UK: 620% Rise in Alt-Protein Sandwich Fillings, But Fewer Vegan Sandwiches on Offer

A report by Eating Better has examined the availability of healthy and vegan sandwiches in the UK. The research looked at 430 sandwiches across 14 retailers and foodservice outlets, including the country’s largest supermarket chains.

“The lack of affordability of plant-based options is a serious barrier”

Strikingly, the use of alt-proteins as sandwich fillings has increased by a huge 620% since 2019. However, other results are disappointing, with many major supermarkets having reduced their plant-based sandwich offerings.

Tesco’s vegan sandwich range has shrunk by 28% since 2019, while Morrisons and Asda have entirely removed their plant-based sandwich options. Vegan sandwiches also tend to be more expensive, costing 15% more at Sainsbury’s.

Boots vegan sandwiches
© Boots

Though 84% of sandwiches examined by Eating Better contained animal products, figures for foodservice were significantly better, with 34% of sandwiches meat-free and half of these entirely plant-based. Pret a Manger takes the lead, with only 42% of sandwiches containing meat. Other foodservice outlets to offer vegan sandwiches in the UK include Subway and Cafe Nero.

Executive Director at Eating Better, Simon Billing said: “Three years on from our last sandwich survey, and with yet more evidence from climate scientists on the need to reduce our meat consumption, it’s deeply disappointing that the sandwich aisle is still too meaty and that plant-based is too pricey.”

Subway Beyond Meatball
Subway Beyond Meatball ©Subway

“Companies make commitments to tackle climate change and promote healthy eating, but our survey shows they’re still not doing enough to support affordable, sustainable diets. And even though there’s been a big leap in alternative protein fillings, it’s been at the expense of dropping veggie sandwiches. Our poll shows they’re still a popular choice.

“If we’re to stand any chance of tackling the climate, nature and health crisis we need to be eating a lot less meat and dairy and a lot more affordable and nutritious plant-based foods. A better balance would be meat fillings making up no more than 50% of all sandwich ranges.”

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