UK – UK’s leading supermarket, Sainsbury’s has unveiled UK’s first meat-free butchers to expand its plant-based product offerings in a market where consumers are demanding healthier foods.

Launched during World Meat Free Week, the butcher shops replace the traditional style butchers, offering customers an array of cuts and joints derived from 100% plant-based alternatives.

The meat substitutes will be made from mushroom, jackfruit and even pea protein, enabling customers to choose from over a dozen high quality fresh foods in the shop.

The industry is also boosted by sustainability trends, including need to explore new and climate smart methods of food production.

“While we’re seeing a huge climb in sales of our plant-based foods, we know from conversations with customers that there is a sense of trepidation about cooking with them,” said James Hamilton, Buyer for Sainsbury’s.

“Our meat-free butchers have been launched to encourage people to get up close to the products, try what they like and take home some valuable cooking advice and recipe inspiration.”

The in-store butcher will be specially trained for plant-based cooking, sharing recipe advice and tips to help customers get involved in World Meat Free Week, which encourages people to try more plant-based foods.

Sainsbury’s reported a 65% increase in sales of plant-based products year-on-year – with sales having doubled in the last year compare to the previous year.

According to a recent report by Future of Food, a quarter of all British people could be vegetarian in 2025 (up from one in eight Britons today) and half of the world population could identify as flexitarians in five years’ time.

Innova Market Insights indicates that meat substitutes accounted for 14% of global meat launches in the first nine months of 2018, up from 6% in 2013.

There has been considerable activity and innovation from new plant-based meat brands targeting opportunities for good-tasting, nutritious and sustainable options among vegetarians, vegans, meat reducers and flexitarians.

This industry is also boosted by the emergence of clean meat, which looks to replace animal slaughter with lab grown meat products.