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Readly survey of Brit consumers shows positive trend toward more sustainable food products

August 21, 2023

Inflation is sitting with us at the table with food prices at their highest level in years. In the UK, two thirds of Brits believe that current rates of inflation are biting into their food choices and culinary habits according to new research by Readly, the digital magazine and newspaper app. The research shows how people are responding to this economic challenge in the supermarket, in the kitchen and eating out as they compromise between food for taste, health and cost savings.

One in three (35%) people are attempting to be thrifty by seeking out offers when it comes to food shopping. Almost half of people (43%) said they are choosing low cost brands or alternatives and a third (33%) are rarely dining out due to the cost of eating in restaurants and pubs increasing too.

One in five people (19%) are putting less meat and fish in their food basket and over one in 10 (13%) are buying less fruit and vegetables, showed the YouGov research for Readly.

The price of food has become more expensive by 17.4% in the UK in the year to June 2023 with prices in restaurants and cafes rising by 9.1% in the same period.

"We are experiencing a phase where many people are re-evaluating how and what we eat due to cost, exchanging ideas about special offers and wondering how to keep the joy of cooking alive despite inflationary prices," said Chris Couchman, Head of Content at Readly. "The Food & Drink category has always been one of the most popular categories among our readers and recipe ideas are in trend all year round. However, meal-preparations and simple family recipes are currently experiencing a whole new high phase due to the increased cost of living, with recipes to recreate your favourite take out food at home trending amongst the most bookmarked. In the Readly app, readers have access to over 430 cooking, baking and food magazines with inspiration for every type of chef."

Despite the tightening of purse strings, there is a positive trend – in the direction of sustainability: one in three people (29%) are eating a veggie lunch or dinner a few times a week and 15% are eating it every day. Only one in 10 people (9%) are eating less organic options due to cost restraints and over a third (37%) are making a concerted effort to waste less food.

When it comes to the lengths Brits would go to save on costs, a quarter of adults (23%) are willing to try eating insects as an alternative source of protein with a third (33%) of 18-39 year olds up for trying it but only 15% of over 60s. The top three dishes people would be willing to try are algae and seaweed as a protein rich substitute (41%), an old classic reworked with a sustainable substitute (36%) and one in four (25%) would try a dish made of lab-grown meat.

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