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Shoppers shun Veganuary to buy a third more meat

Red meat

Red meat sales have risen

Sales of red meat soared by a third in January – despite the nationwide Veganuary campaign urging consumers to reject animal food.

There was a sharp rise in demand for Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork.

Data from retail monitor Kantar and analysed by Quality Meat Scotland shows that almost a million (966,650) more retail meat purchases were made in Scotland in the four weeks to 24 January, up by almost a third (29.7%) on the same month last year. 

Total meat sales in Scotland exceeded £31.6million, which was £7m higher (29%) than the same period last year.

QMS said less than 1% of the UK population participated in the Veganuary campaign.  Total sales of meat substitute purchases in Scotland in January 2021 only saw a 7.6% increase compared to 10.8% in 2020.


The food association said the boost in meat sales follows a transformational year for the sector which has seen Scottish consumers turn to local butchers as people become more switched-on and concerned as to where their food is coming from. 

Research previously carried out by Censuswide on behalf of Quality Meat Scotland revealed that 62% of people agreed they are more conscious of the traceability of their food and nearly two-thirds (60%) intended to buy more from local suppliers as the nation emerges from lockdown. 

Lesley Cameron, director of marketing and corporate communications for QMS, said:  “In January many people start the new year with a focus around two things; their health and their environmental impact. 

“Each year there’s always a lot of discussion and interest around Veganuary, but it’s great to see that consumers in Scotland understand the Scotch farming difference and continue to enjoy local quality, protein rich, high in VitB12, red meat.  

“The pandemic has really raised awareness of the importance of sustainable supply chains and supporting local businesses. 

“All Scotch meat, from farm to plate, is reared and produced in Scotland by local businesses.  It’s particularly reassuring to see consumers are staying loyal and supporting the industry, especially during January. 

“When you see the Scotch label on shelves, you can be confident that the meat is quality assured and traceable to Scottish farms that adopt the best animal welfare and production methods.” 

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