Figures from Kantar Worldpanel revealed no drop off in sales of primary meat and poultry in the 12 weeks to January 27 - despite Veganuary.
Hype around Veganuary and a four-week media campaign encouraging the public to adopt a plant-based diet resulted in no major drop-off in purchasing trends of primary meat.
Business unit director at Kantar Worldpanel Nathan Ward revealed the findings at NFU conference, which highlighted flat volumes for primary meat and poultry, with fish still in strong growth.
He said the outcome of Veganuary had ‘not hit as hard as the press would lead us to believe’, with only minimal impact on the core categories.
Mr Ward said: “What we are seeing is this explosion of vegans is not quite as explosive as you might expect.
“If the nation was turning vegan, they are still buying a lot more meat.”
Just less than four per cent of all main meal occasions would be termed ’vegan friendly’, Kantar data showed. “The average person is not eating it,” he added.
It came as Gregg’s announced it had made an ‘exceptionally strong start to 2019’ with a 9.6 per cent growth in sales in the first seven weeks of this year, down to what it said was ‘extensive publicity surrounding the launch of the vegan-friendly sausage roll’.
Iain Ferguson, co-chairman of the Food and Drink Sector Council, who sat on the board of Greggs for eight years, told conference delegates: “[Greggs] have just had some splendid results today driven by the introduction of their vegan sausage roll, which has reminded people just how good their traditional sausage roll was.”
Non-dairy alternatives and other plant based products had also been successful, and the product range was expanding.
Director of Sainsbury’s brand Judith Batchelar added: “The dairy alternatives market is in really rude growth with price points that we could only dream of from a dairy farmers perspective.
“Those products are appealing to something that customers are looking for. They are perfectly able to be produced from a primary agriculture point of view rather than a food processing point of view, but all of the value is being added at the food processing point, not at a primary agriculture point.
“I think you can look to some of those markets where there is obviously an appetite for customers to trade up, and say how can we effectively together create those value chains where we can have a share of that growth and interest but with something that is driven from primary agriculture.”