Almost three in 10 (29%) people have cut back on eating meat in the past 12 months, with a further one in 10 saying they were considering reducing their meat intake or cutting it out completely.
According to the NatCen's British Social Attitudes survey, commissioned by the Vegetarian Society, over two-fifths (44%) of people altogether do not eat meat, have reduced the amount of meat they eat, or are considering cutting down.
Of those who said they were thinking of cutting down or eliminating meat from their diet, 58% said health reasons would be factor, 21% cited saving money, 20% were concerned about animal welfare, and 19% stated their stance was due to concerns around the food safety of meat. Over one in 10 (11%) said that environmental concerns were a factor.
Women were more likely than men to have reduced their meat intake (34% for women; 23% for men), while 39% of people aged 65-79 were more likely to have reduced their meat consumption, compared to 19% of 18 to 24 year-olds.
The poll questioned 2,878, nationally-representative British adults.
The results come as vegetarian and allergen-aware restaurants, bars and catering outlets become more common, with chefs such as Dominic Teague at Indigo in London's One Aldwych hotel creating a menu without gluten or dairy, and the burgeoning growth of vegetarian restaurant group Bistro 1847.
Ian Simpson, senior researcher at NatCen Social Research, said: "Many people in Britain are clearly concerned about eating too much meat and the primary driver of this appears to be concerns about health. High-profile news stories, like research highlighting the health risks of processed meat and the horse meat scandal, could be behind this behaviour."
Lynne Elliot, chief executive of the Vegetarian Society, said: "We commissioned this research because, for some time, we have noticed people are positively engaging with the idea of eating less meat. There is an increasing awareness of the issues relating to our food choices, and that has resulted in a large number of people reducing the amount of meat they eat or cutting it out altogether."
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