A plant-based diet might be the cheaper alternative to get through the cost of living crisis, study shows

More students are looking to switching out their meat diet for a plant-based one because pf the cost of living crisis, research shows.

According to a new study of students in Manchester by MeatFreed, an app that offers students discounts on plant-based food, 69% of students wanted to try more meat free meals.

The study also found that 23% wanted to be fully plant-based and 25% are already making sustainable meal choices.

With the impact of the cost of living crisis, 44% of Manchester students surveyed said they felt worried about the cost of a plant-based diet and 60% of students believing their diets will change with the rising prices of food.

The UK’s price of food is rising at their fastest rate in 42 years and September last year saw food costs jump by 14.6% according to the Office for National Statistics.

Last winter Oxford University published a study that found a vegetarian or vegan diet in the UK can be up to a third cheaper than a meat diet, with even a flexitarian diet reducing costs by 14%.

Dr Marco Springmann, researcher on the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food, said: “We think the fact that vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian diets can save you a lot of money is going to surprise people.”

He added that people often have a misconception that when scientists advocate for healthy and environmentally friendly eating is promoting something expensive.

“This study shows it’s quite the opposite. These diets could be better for your bank balance as well as for your health and the planet,” he said.

Maddison Bates, 21, has recently changed to a plant-based diet after trying to find new ways to keep her weekly shopping bill down.

She said: “It wasn’t something I was overly keen on doing at first but with the cost of living crisis it is more expensive to get fresh meat.

“I’ve found that a lot of plant-based food is more frozen which means I have been able to keep a lot more of it for longer.”

Maddison said she usually goes to a butcher’s to buy her meat but has noticed the prices have jumped significantly and had to find a new way to save money.

“Now that it is Veganuary it has been easier for me to be able to try a vegan diet as almost every shop I have been in has been selling vegan products,” she said.

Although she isn’t completely happy with having to leave her meat diet behind, she does feel that proud that she knows she is cutting carbon emissions down.

Olivia Spalding, a student said when it comes to doing her weekly shop, she has noticed the increase of price in meat, “I think its disastrous the increase, I’m a struggling uni student and I barely afford to eat as it is, but a plant-based diet is not the option I want to go down.”

“I enjoy going to the gym which requires a lot of energy but I’m struggling to fit in the protein into my diet because it’s just so expensive, how is an expensive society, a healthy society”

“I cannot imagine how it must be to feed a family of four or bigger as I struggle to make it work now and it doesn’t give me high hopes for the future, I wonder what my life is going to look like in 15 years if I cannot afford It now”, she added.

When trying to find alternative ways to be able to afford meat, Olivia does not see going plant based as an option. 

She said she thinks it’s good for the environment to be plant-based and is a viable option for those who can’t afford meat, but it should be an option and not a last resort.

“I think It feels like the less well-off you are financially the less control you have over your body and what you put into it, and our government don’t seem to care about this.”

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