The number of vegetarians in the UK has more than quadrupled since 2002. With the help of campaigners and animal rights activists, as well as number of celebrities and athletes, vegetarianism is a growing lifestyle choice for many.
Last year, demand for meat-free food rose by 987%, with leading food manufacturing companies playing catch up with a massive consumer trend. Greggs were one of the first to respond with their famous unveiling of the vegan sausage roll; KFC have followed suite with a vegan burger. Vegetarianism is easily the biggest food trend in the UK and wholesalers are taking full advantage of its popularity by stocking meat-free alternatives.
1 in 3 people have reduced or stopped their meat consumption entirely; this has already lead to a decline in meat sales in the UK over the last two years. The requirement for meat on a global scale, however, has not reduced; the economic upturn in countries such as India and China will see a rise in calorie consumption per head and continual requirement for UK meat farming to sustain this growth. Although we as a nation are consuming less, our meat exports are rising; British beef exports rose by 14% in 2018, including a 13% rise in exports to Hong Kong (British poultry meat production has also risen by 1% since 2017).
The online search for “plant proteins” rose almost 500% in 2017, leading to a huge surge in demand for specific, protein-rich ingredients such as lentils, chickpeas, nuts and tofu. The total value of the UK’s plant based market was around £450 million last year, and the meat-free market is estimated to grow to around £660 million by 2021. This includes unprecedented rises in vegan cheese, baby food and high street meals which currently contributes tens of billions of pounds to global economy (vegan cheese alone is worth £2.5 billion).
For now, regarding vegetarianism and veganism in the UK, we are in a win/win situation. Meat production has not stalled, thanks to overseas demand, and lower national consumption is resulting in a collectively healthier lifestyle, with meat alternatives providing a healthy contribution to the economy.
A healthy supply chain is good for business
For UK supply chains, this trend-come-lifestyle is forcing manufacturers to approach production in alternative ways, and to achieve this they need to be flexible. So what do logistics companies need to be aware of in order to keep up?
One of the results of the increasing demand for healthier food and meat alternatives is the added consumer scrutiny of product shelf-life. In order to appease these anxieties, transparency over production and freshness of products is vital to customer retention.
Retailers and manufacturers also need to acclimatise their warehouses, production facilities and shop fronts. Flexible ERP systems, such as the Cloudsuite Food & Beverage, adapt to frequent changes in daily production and storage requirements. The ability to easily configure long-term sourcing and forecasting needs, as well as temperature control and prioritised stocking requirements, is a technological game changer to the fresh food Industry.
Vegetarianism is growing at an exponential rate, and is a trend that will continue. Being able to adapt to significant changes in demands, including heightened visibility and better planning for fresher products, is a challenge that we will always be faced with. Agile software is imperative to your business success within a challenging industry.
Cloudsuite Food & Beverage is a proven solution, allowing you to adapt and evolve with your fresh food supply chain needs. Generic software could be stunting your development in every department, especially when technological innovation is being capitalised on by successful companies in the industry.
Are you looking for a fully visibly, adaptable ERP software solution that allows you to react to the demands of your customers?
Alternatively, Speak to our Cloudsuite Food & Beverage experts [add link] and start streamlining your supply chain today.