Premier Foods finds 38% of Brits to cater for veggie or vegan diets this Xmas

New research commissioned by Premier Foods, home to Bisto gravy and Paxo stuffing, has found that over a third of Brits (38%) are planning to cater for vegetarian or vegan diets this year, with meat-free alternatives to Christmas ingredients becoming more widely available than ever.

Of those cooking for people who follow a meat-free or plant-based diet, 16% of us will be doing so for the very first time, as growing concerns about the environmental impact of food have seen the number of UK adults following a meat-free diet swell to more than 7 million.

However, when it comes to Christmas dinner, there are some traditions that people won’t forego. 61% of Brits say that roast potatoes are the most crucial part of their Christmas Day meal, with stuffing and pigs in blankets both following at 50% and gravy at 46%. So much so, that last Christmas, people bought enough Paxo stuffing to make 70 million stuffing balls2 and enough Bisto to make 35 million litres of gravy.

The divisive Brussel sprout – loved by many while hated by others – ranks at number six on the list, with 32[3]% of us saying we can’t live without them at Christmas. The long list of ingredients that go into Christmas lunch means that one or two items inevitably fall off our shopping lists, with cranberry sauce topping the items most often forgotten about (16%).

Despite the rise in plant-based diets, the data also shows that consumers aren’t willing to give up gravy or compromise on flavour. Sales of Premier Foods’ meat-free Beef and Chicken Oxo cubes, a key ingredient for scratch gravy makers, grew 60% in the 12 weeks to 27 November 2021, against the same period last year, since launch.

The polling also shines a light on the nation’s repertoire of Christmas leftover recipe ideas. While the ever popular Christmas sandwich is by far and away our favourite way to use up leftover Christmas food (52%), the growing drive to reduce food waste has also seen consumers experiment with curries (24%), stir fries (17%), pasta bakes (14%) and even risottos (8%).

Yilmaz Erceyes, Chief Marketing Officer, Premier Foods, commented, “For an increasing number of families, including my own, Christmas lunch is evolving to reflect the changing diets of those gathered around the table.

'Fortunately, innovations like our meat-free Oxo cubes mean that families needn’t compromise on flavour and ensure that families only need one pot of gravy this Christmas, whether you’re tucking into a turkey or a nut roast.

'Meat-based dishes will always have a place at the Christmas table, but it's exciting to see products evolve to meet the changing need of consumers – not just vegans and vegetarians but flexitarians too.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve seen a noticeable shift in cooking habits as people spend, and enjoy, a little more time in the kitchen each week. This Christmas will be no different as families cater for different diets and experiment with new leftover recipes on Boxing Day.”