The meat and dairy sector has been warned about the permanency of vegan and flexitarian diets, which will ultimately drive down demand for their products.

Social media has fuelled the increase in veganism, but a new report published by the UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Board (AHDB) notes that only 2 per cent of the population is vegan, which conflicts with reports that the number of vegans in the UK is 7 per cent of the population.

According to Susie Stannard, senior consumer insight analyst for AHDB, veganism gets a “disproportionate amount of media attention.” Stannard said: “Correlation does not imply causation but it is undeniable that the platform (Instagram) has been used very effectively as a tool to share recipes and ideology.”

Young shoppers are identifying with veganism as a cause, compared to older generations. Stannard suggested that veganism has “become a badge of identity or a tribal marker, much like identifying as other youth tribes such as ‘gym bro’ or ‘craft beer nerd”.

Whilst health factors are identified as a reason for people switching to a vegan diet, other factors lie with the ethics of the meat and dairy industry, and the environmental concerns surrounding animal agriculture – something that Stannard believes has been exploited by people advocating for a vegan diet.

The proposed solution for the dairy and meat industry is to launch better marketing initiatives, however, with veganism and flexitarian diets no longer being seen as a fad, marketing might not be enough to keep the industries afloat.

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