The flexitarian diet: 5 reasons why people are taking a more plant-based approach

27th July 2017

More people are turning towards a flexitarian diet, only adding meat occasionally. The diet itself is becoming increasingly popular, especially for people who don’t want to commit fully to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.

What most people don’t know – is that a flexitarian can also be someone who is a vegan or vegetarian and has reintroduced a small bit of meat into their diets. Works both ways.

What are the main reasons for people choosing a flexitarian diet?

Health benefits:

The health benefits of a vegetarian diet are huge. People who consume a more plant-based diet have a decrease in BMI (Body Mass Index), lower risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes and even some types of cancers.

Vegetarians tend to eat less saturated fats and cholesterol. The increase in fruits and vegetables, leads to consuming more vitamins, and essentials such as folic acid and dietary fiber.

A recent study found that those who heavily reduce meat and animal products from their diets and swap for fruits, vegetable and grains could reduce the chances of obesity by 50%.

The stigma is gone

Flexitarianism is no longer a niche community of people. It’s becoming increasingly common for people identify as (part-time) veggies.

In fact, over a third of people in the UK now say they are ‘semi-vegetarian’, according to research by Forum of the Future. This number is expected to grow by 10% by the end of 2017.

Shifts in attitudes

Gone are the days when it was expected that some sort of meat had to be on the plate at every main meal. Attitudes are shifting. According to the Meat and Poultry Report 2017, over half of Brits now believe that meat isn’t necessary as a component of main meals; breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The data from the report shows that the main reasons for cutting back meat are mainly for health reasons (33%) and to try out more vegetarian and pescatarian options (32%).

Financial reasons

The same report states that people are seeing meat as a luxury. 29% said it was becoming too expensive whilst 25% said they can’t afford to buy as much as they did a year ago.

For example, the cost of beef has reached an 11% year-on-year increase per Kg. managing Director of Beacon Purchasing claims that current prices are 20% higher than they were in 2015 and the highest they have been in nearly a decade:

 “Prime beef and trim is in huge demand from both the UK retail and foodservice sectors, but also more critically from abroad. The latest foodservice inflation figures show that costs are up by 9%, the highest they have been in nine years and it is only a matter of time before suppliers and foodservice outlets will not be able to swallow up these increases and they’ll begin to be passed on to the consumer.”

 Environmental reasons

The environmental impact of meat production varies due to the different agricultural practices employed from around the world, however, some effects are animal methane, effluent waste, water and land consumption and pollution through fossil fuel usage.

The research from the UK Government also highlights the increasing awareness of such issues, stating that the number of people who think we should eat less meat is growing. In 2015, 28% thought we should eat less, that figure is now 34%. The figure is even higher amongst younger cohorts of people at 50%.

 

 

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