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UK Residents Are Choosing More Vegan BBQ Foods

Union Jack wavers with a hungry affinity for steak and kidney pie, toad in a hole (sausages in batter) and black pudding (sausage stuffed with meat and oatmeal) might soon become a minority if a market report released in June is any indication.

The study, released by market analyst firm Mintel, has revealed that a sizeable number of Brits are opting for more vegan barbecue fare this summer, predicting that it will be a food trend hotter than the grill those plant entrees will be scorched on. It's all part of what the researchers call a "flexitarian surge," which might see up to 22 million British consumers alter their omnivore intake in favor of more vegetables and less meat and dairy.

Granted, the meat pies and other traditional carnivore munchies aren't geared for barbecuing, and will likely remain as staples throughout the winter months. But Mintel believes that a rise in more diverse vegan products might sway additional Brits, who otherwise perceive that indulging in vegan cuisine means a hum-drum diet of lentils and celery. According to the company, that stereotype is changing, thanks to such specialty products as black bean chipotle.

"Flavour-bursting new varieties of vegan alternatives made from innovative ingredients like Indian jackfruit, which due to its texture and flavour is becoming an increasingly popular meat substitute, will be the star of the vegan barbecue this summer," said food analyst Melanie Zanoza Bartelme.

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Mintel also pointed out additional numbers to support its case, such as a reduction in consumption of meat and poultry since March 2017. Apparently, 33 percent of adult consumers have reported changing their food choices in that regard. A previous study determined that some 3.5 million Brits have taken up the vegan lifestyle. In the U.S., 33 percent of those surveyed stated that they intended to purchase more plant-type food items this year.

U.K. grocery chains like Waitrose, Tesco, and Sainsbury's have responded to these changes in demand by expanding their vegan selections in their outlets. Hardware chain Argos has also introduced a charcoal barbecue unit that's specially designed for vegan food so that big fans of the trend don't have to worry about their plant-based delicacies mixing with the meat juices of burgers and steaks that carnivores at a get-together prefer. The product retails for slightly more than $11.

Reasons for the trend vary widely, although the price point of meat figures highly in the motives. Younger consumers are becoming more vocal about the cruelty of animal-based food products, a sentiment voiced by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for years. And others are more concerned about the ecological component, what with a reported 20 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions originate from food production, half of which is attributable to the meat industry.

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