Rise Of Veganism Affecting Beef Farmers As Demand For The Meat Falls

One farming industry journal says consumers have been 'assaulted by a variety of negative messages about red meat, including warnings over obesity, cancer and the effect of cattle on the environment'
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Consumers are opting for more meat-free alternatives (Photo: Adobe. Do not use without permission)

Beef farmers in Bristol are being hit by the rise of veganism, according to a catering and hospitality expert.

Alex Demetriou is the managing director of Regency which supplies the UK catering industry. He says demand for beef has fallen by five percent compared to the same time last year.

He cited multiple factors for the decline, including the impact of impending Brexit, and the rise in vegan and vegetarian lifestyles.

'Vegan movement'

"It appears as if this has been driven by the vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian movement, which is becoming increasingly popular as a lifestyle choice rather than any kind of trend," Demetriou told Bristol Live.

"There was an increase in slaughtering in the first quarter because of all the uncertainty around Brexit and the potential impact on the beef markets if we had left the EU at the end of March, as intended."

Beyond Burger

Consumers are increasingly opting for vegan alternatives to beef - like the Beyond Burger (Photo: Beyond Meat)

'Beef farmers in the red'

According to industry outlet Farmers Weekly, the problems for beef farmers spread beyond Bristol.

It claims falling demand is a result of consumers being 'assaulted by a variety of negative messages about red meat, including warnings over obesity, cancer and the effect of cattle on the environment'.

It says this is leading to falling demand in both the retail and hospitality sectors, and quotes Ulster Farmers Union beef and lamb chairman, Sam Chesney as saying: "I would say most beef farmers are definitely in the red at the moment."