// Sainsbury’s opens meat-free butchers in time for World Meat Free Week
// It’s the first of its kind in the UK, with entirely plant-based meat alternatives
// Supermarket says customers still have “sense of trepidation” over cooking meat-free products
The UK’s first meat-free butchers opens its doors this morning, offering an array of cuts and joints entirely made from plant-based meat-alternatives.
Launching in Bethnal Green in time for World Meat Free Week and operating for just three days, Sainsbury’s has dressed the store almost exactly like a traditional butchers, with strings of meat-free sausages hung up on display.
Customers can choose from sausages, burgers and mince made from the likes of mushroom, jackfruit and pea protein, before the products are weighed and wrapped.
The pop-up comes after Sainsbury’s reported a 65 per cent rise in the sales of plant-based products year-on-year, and that’s after sales doubled for the previous year.
A recent Future of Food report issued by Sainsbury’s predicted that a quarter of all British people could be vegetarian in 2025 (up from one in eight Britons today) and half of Britain could identify as flexitarians (up from fifth today), in five years’ time.
By 2050, Sainsbury’s report found that ‘cultured’ meat could start to be considered an everyday item.
It said its Meat-Free Butchers intends to highlight “how far vegan food has come over the years, showing customers the huge breadth of choice now available”.
The in-store butcher has been specially trained for plant-based cooking and sharing recipe advice for customers eager to get involved with World Meat Free Week.
“Whilst 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 Sainsbury’s buyer James Hamilton.
“Our Meat-Free Butchers has 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.
“We have carefully selected the products on offer from the growing range of over 100 plant-based products now available at Sainsbury’s, so customers are in for a real meat-free treat when visiting the butchers,” added Hamilton.