The prospect of a diet packed with chickpeas, lentils, and quinoa appears to be more tempting as of late, as new research from Mintel reveals that a quarter (25%) of young British Millennials (aged 21-30) say that the COVID-19 pandemic has made a vegan diet more appealing. This is also the trend in Canada too!

These plant-loving Millennials are not alone, as the research reveals that a vegan diet is proving more attractive to over one in ten (12%) of all Brits, rising to almost a quarter (22%) of Londoners, since the start of the pandemic.

This comes as Mintel research indicates there is a strong belief in the healing power of plants, as half of Brits (51%) believe plant/botanical ingredients (eg herbs, spices) can have medicinal benefits (ie treating ailments).

‘Five a day’ is a higher priority too, as a quarter (23%) of Brits say they are eating more fruit and vegetables since the start of the outbreak. Generation Z (aged 20 and under) (31%) and Millennials (21-40) (27%) are most likely to be keeping their fridges well-stocked with this healthy produce. Shining a light on citrus fruits in particular, two thirds (66%) of Brits believe consuming vitamin C helps support the immune system. Overall, almost two in five (37%) Brits say the COVID-19 outbreak has prompted them to add more nutrients that support the immune system to their diet.

Alex Beckett, Associate Director, Mintel Food & Drink, said:

“People want the world to change for the better right now and they are searching for ways to show compassion. For consumers struggling to know how to make a positive difference, cutting out animal protein may be seen as a way of tackling the climate crisis, showing compassion for nature, and boosting their own nutrient intake.

“Even before the spread of COVID-19, we were seeing a growing interest in plant-based food and drink across global markets. It may well be that the pandemic is accelerating this trend. For example, in China, we’ve seen skyrocketing sales of the new plant-based meat options in KFC and Pizza Hut.”

Millennials set to keep their cupboards stocked with long-life food and drink

While many Brits are venturing outside the home again, it seems the lockdown has had a lasting impact on their eating habits. Almost two in five (37%) consumers believe that, in the future, people will buy long-life food and drink (eg UHT milk, tinned food) more often as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, rising to almost half (47%) of Gen Z and Millennials (45%). Meanwhile, one in seven Brits (17%) has been eating more tinned food since COVID-19, rising to a quarter (25%) of Gen Z and one in five (21%) Millennials.

Prompting a ‘waste not want not’ mentality, almost seven in ten (69%) Brits say the outbreak has encouraged them to waste less food at home.

Finally, Mintel research reveals that the virus has created a long-term interest in cooking and baking as more than half (55%) of the nation say they plan on cooking more from scratch post-COVID-19 than they did before.

Alex Beckett, Associate Director, Mintel Food & Drink, said:

“Before the outbreak, younger people generally opted for convenient, fresh food that didn’t take long to prepare. But under lockdown, with more time at home and no restaurants or cafes open for business, long-life food has had clear advantages. It doesn’t take up precious fridge space and lasts a good while, making it suitable for quarantine-living and resulting in fewer shopping trips. It’s affordable, often nutritious, and, in the case of tinned veg or fruit, suits our rekindled fondness for cooking from scratch.”

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