Retail & E-Commerce

Tesco Reports “Phase Two of Plant-Based Revolution” With Rising Demand for Meat-Free Ingredients

The UK’s largest supermarket chain Tesco reports that the plant-based revolution appears to be entering a second phase, driven by consumers cooking from scratch.

The retailer noted that while plant-based is “the biggest food trend this century”, there was a slight dip in sales last year, attributed to the novelty wearing off for customers who were buying the products out of curiosity. However, sales of meat-free ingredients and whole cuts are now on the rise again.

“Customers are starting to understand the versatility of plant-based ingredients and whole cuts”

Over the last three months, sales of fish alternatives have risen by a huge 100% compared to the same period last year, while tofu and tempeh sales are up by about 20%. Plant-based steaks and chicken breasts have also seen a 20% sales boost, while meat-free burgers are up 10%.

A notable success story is Juicy Marbles’ premium meat-free steaks, which rolled out at Tesco at the beginning of the year at a lower price than comparable animal steaks. Leading up to Valentine’s Day, Tesco sold an “unprecedented” 100,000 meat-free steaks.

Tesco plant-based frozen goujons
© Tesco

“Biggest culinary trend this century”

Tesco also recently conducted a survey which found that 47% of Brits are adding more vegetables to their plates. Of these, 82% say the change is motivated by health, 25% are trying to reduce their environmental impact, and 22% are trying to save money.

The retailer has been offering a wide range of plant-based products for years, pioneering the Wicked Kitchen brand in 2018 and launching the affordable Plant Chef range the following year. Since then, Tesco has continued to expand its plant-based offerings, announcing last year that it would be developing more vegetable-based options in line with trends towards less processed foods.

“Plant-based food has been the biggest culinary trend so far this century and attracted interest from vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike who were curious as to what the fuss was all about,” said Tesco Plant-Based Food Buyer Cate May. “That initial level of interest was inevitably going to drop off slightly, but what we are seeing is phase two of that revolution, with flexitarians now wanting to take more control over what they eat whilst continuing to reduce their meat intake. These latest sales figures show they’re doing that by cooking from scratch.”

She added, “Customers are starting to understand the versatility of plant-based ingredients and whole cuts, and are creating a wide variety of meals. Awareness is also starting to increase around the health benefits of making some simple swaps in their diet, for example, to reduce saturated fat whilst maintaining strong levels of protein by increasing the amount of plants and plant-based foods in their diets.”

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