A survey by supermarket giant Waitrose said 41 per cent of those eating a plant-based diet missed eating a Sunday roast.
One third of the population now have meat-free or meat-reduced diets, according to a survey of more than 2,000 people.
The OnePoll consumer research, headed up by supermarket giant Waitrose and Partners, said the figures included one in eight Brits who identified as a vegan or vegetarian – three per cent and 9.5 per cent respectively – with a further 21 per cent flexitarian.
But the results, published today (November 1) in the Waitrose Food and Drink Report 2018-19, found half of those who said they were vegan or vegetarian ate meat ‘at weekends’, ‘occasionally’, or ‘on special occasions’.
Jonathan Moore, Waitrose and Partners executive chief, said: “Vegetarianism has grown and evolved – people dip in and out of it.
“There was a time when choosing a plant-based diet was about taking an ethical stand based on unwavering principles.
“For many, this distinction between vegetarians and meat-eaters still exists – but for others, the lines have blurred.”
Of those surveyed, 60 per cent of vegans and 40 per cent of vegetarians said they had adopted the lifestyle in the past five years.
When questioned on why they had made the move, 55 per cent said it was to do with animal welfare concerns, 45 per cent because ‘it is healthier for me’, and 38 per cent because of environmental concerns.
Two per cent said it was because they thought it was ‘fashionable’.
It came as Waitrose Food editor William Sitwell stood down following an email thread suggesting the magazine should do a series on ‘killing vegans, one by one’.
It was in response to a pitch from freelance journalist Selene Nelson who suggested content on plant-based recipes.
Replying to the email, Mr Sitwell said: “How about a series on killing vegans, one by one. Ways to trap them? How to interrogate them properly? Expose their hypocrisy? Force-feed them meat? Make them eat steak and drink red wine?”
The move caused controversy online with many suggesting the MasterChef critic should not have lost his job over ‘making a joke’.