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'Veganuary' drives fresh produce sales

New Year health trends give fruit and veg cause for cheer after Christmas helping boost sales of fresh produce

'Veganuary' drives fresh produce sales

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New Year health trends like 'Veganuary' helped boost fruit and vegetable consumption in the UK at the start of 2019, according to recent figures.

January grocery sales were up 1.7 per cent compared to this time last year, boosted in part by the rise in popularity of campaigns like “Veganuary”, which encourage people to go vegan for the first month of the year, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

Shoppers purchased an extra £46 million worth of fresh produce at the start of this year, compared to 2018. Cucumbers, carrots and berries in particular enjoyed the most success, growing by 26%, 22% and 13% respectively.

Grocery sales still fell £1.5 billion compared to December however, as shoppers tighten their belts on grocery bills following a Christmas splurge.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Looking back on 2018 as a whole, one of the most notable consumer trends is the shift to a more plant-based diet. Today, 1% of all households include a vegan, 5 per cent have a vegetarian and 10 per cent have flexitarians in their ranks. This move has contributed to consumers eating a total of 4.4 billion meat-free dinners in 2018, an increase of 150 million meals on the year before. 

“Following an indulgent Christmas period, health-conscious shoppers and Veganuary participants helped sales of fruit, vegetables and salad surge by £46m compared with January last year. 

“Meanwhile, over two-thirds of customers bought an item labelled ‘free-from’ over the past month, with dairy alternatives like plant milks making up a quarter of total free-from sales.” 

Aldi and Lidl were strong performers over Christmas, according to Kantar, with 18.3 million households shopping in at least one of the discounters over the past 12 weeks.

For the established retailers Christmas brought a mixed stocking however. Fraser McKevitt added: “With the exception of the discounters, Co-op was the only retailer to gain market share over this 12-week period.

The Brits' love of drink may prove a harder health trend to crack however, as alcohol sales still enjoyed double-digit growth of 10 per cent in the past month.

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