Eating habits and trends in the UK

  • 6 April 2021
  • Written by: Maria Teresa Moschillo

Image by Ian Wilson from Pixabay


Our eating habits have become a statement, an authentic declaration of intent.

This is what emerged at SIAL Paris 2020  , the most important world food industry fair that this year, due to Covid-19, was not held in attendance (the event is postponed to 2022).

SIAL Paris, which represents a privileged observatory on the panorama of the food area, has disclosed the studies conducted by its expert partners, among which Kantar.

All the surveys are focused on a theme, #Ownthechange, and show (no ifs and buts) that food today is increasingly a matter of choices.

Eating well is a social commitment and reflects the world in which each of us wants to live.

There are many consumers who have revolutionized their eating habits: it is the triumph of a healthy diet and local food purchases with little environmental impact.

For each geographical area examined, Kantar interviewed and analyzed a sample of 500 people, aged between 18 and 55 years.

Today we will describe the eating habits in the UK.


Behavior of the food consumer in the UK

34% of consumers surveyed by Kantar in the United Kingdom believe that the choice of food in itself implies a civil and social commitment and are aware that everyone’s food choices have a very strong impact on the world.

62% of consumers have changed their eating habits in the last 2 years. In particular, 25% made radical changes to their lifestyle in favor of more eco-sustainable and ethical choices.


Top 4 changes in food consumption in the UK

  • 61% prefer healthier foods.
  • 30% pay more attention to the environmental impact of what they consume.
  • 33% look carefully at the list of ingredients.
  • 29% have chosen to consume more local food in the last 2 years.


UK consumer perception of the food industry

77% of UK consumers noted that food industries have started to adopt positive policies aimed at improving food quality.

79% recognize safety efforts in food preparation and storage

73% believe that industries are learning to better safeguard animal welfare.

Definitely negative opinions on the other hand in terms of reduction of superfluous and difficult to dispose of packaging (87% think so), respect and protection of biodiversity (86%) and more generally of food waste (85% are convinced of it).

30% of respondents believe that absolute nothing has been done by the food industry for these critical issues.

Trends in food consumption habits in the UK

Some particularly hot topics have been identified.

The threshold of attention for everything that concerns the environmental impact is getting higher and higher:

62% prefer to buy food with recyclable packaging and boycott, instead, products with superfluous and impacting packaging.

55% prefer to buy food that does not contain dyes or preservatives, even better if completely natural.

With this in mind:

33% choose organic food.

47% of respondents prefer to buy local foods.

40% make fair trade choices.


The issue of traceability is also very much felt by British consumers: 40% prefer to buy and consume traceable foods. Those who buy a certain food want to know where what they will eat comes from, not only for a question of safety or goodness of the food but for the possibility of enjoying, in total transparency, a complete vision of the history and path of that product, from the origins to the table.

Another growing trend is that of the flexitarian diet (or semi-vegetarianism). Within this universe:

42% of respondents chose the flexitarian diet because they feel guilty when they eat meat for the suffering that the production and processing of the latter causes to animals;

33% have reduced or even eliminated meat from their diet

45% have doubts and questions about the ethical and environmental consequences of its consumption.



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