Meat industry bosses have called veganism an Instagram fad.
A report by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) claimed vegans see ditching animal products as 'a badge of identity or a tribal marker, much like identifying...as a 'gym bro' or craft beer nerd'.
The report - titled The rise of plant-based food products and implications for meat and dairy - said: "By claiming their credentials as a vegan, young people believe this shows the world they are ethical, healthy and environmentally aware.
"They have taken to Instagram to follow vegan celebrities and lifestyle bloggers such as [Fat] Gay Vegan and Deliciously Ella. In fact, the growth of veganism has partially been fuelled by the growth in Instagram."
The AHDB has recently written about veganism, and the general trend for ditching meat, a number of times recently - claiming the movement receives a 'disproportionate' amount of coverage given its members.
The organization urged meat and dairy producers to innovate, in a bid to lure back consumers who are trying plant-based products, saying: "Appetite for meat and dairy alternatives is growing as more and more people look for a wider variety of meals.
"Therefore, industry is being urged to look at new and innovative ways to market meat and dairy products and work together throughout the supply chain to stay in favour with consumers'.
As part of its battle against vegans and meat reducers, the AHDB is also part of an unprecedented £2 million scheme promoted by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) Meat Promotion Wales and Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in a bid to 'collectively raise consumer awareness of red meat’s positive messages'.
The scheme - which follows a survey showing that 28 percent of Brits now identify themselves as meat reducers -' will see a greater focus on proactive campaigns aimed at providing consumers with balanced and evidence-led advice on the role that meat can play in a healthy, balanced diet'.
"There will be a strong focus on social media and press activity targeted at engaging younger consumers in recognition of the growing interest in health," said the AHDB.
Despite meat industry claims that veganism is a passing fad, the plant-based industry says the sector is now 'mainstream', with recent sales data showing the market has skyrocketed by 20 percent in the last year alone, to reach $3.3 billion.
Michele Simon is the Executive Director of the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA). She says increasing consumer in vegan products mean the industry 'has gone from being a relatively niche market to fully mainstream'.
"Plant-based meat and dairy alternatives are not just for vegetarians or vegans anymore; now even mainstream consumers are enjoying these delicious and innovative options in the market today," she added.
"The new data confirms what we are hearing and seeing every day from our members: sales are up, investment is increasing, and new jobs are being created in the plant-based foods industry."