A report by Eating Better has found that the number of plant-based ready meals on the market has risen sharply. Just two years ago, only 3 percent of ready meals were plant-based — now, the figure has risen to 16 percent. Additionally, almost a quarter of ready meals are now suitable for vegetarians.
The research looked at over 2,400 ready meals across the major UK supermarkets. Results were similar across supermarket chains, with about 25 percent of ready meals vegan or vegetarian at Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, and Waitrose. A notable exception was Ocado, where an impressive 40 percent of ready meals are meatless.
A recent study showed that 46 percent of consumers believe meat-based ready meals are unhealthy and 12 percent buy plant-based ready meals on a weekly basis. Sales of vegan ready meals soared last year after many supermarkets launched own-brand product ranges.
Though the results are promising, there is still progress to be made. Eating Better points out that the majority of ready meals still contain meat, and these meals are usually cheaper than meatless options. It believes at least half of ready meals should be vegetarian.
“While there are now some exciting options from retailers, you’re still going to have to hunt around to find plant-based options,” Eating Better’s executive director Simon Billing told iNews. “Supermarkets should cater for consumer demand for more plant-based options at a price point that is more affordable than the meat range.”