Thanks, horsemeat! Faux meats in the U.K. are seeing a big uptick in popularity after the recent spate of Euro meat contamination.

The Guardian reports:

Quorn, the UK’s biggest vegetarian ready meal brand, said it had seen sales growth more than double in the second half of February as shoppers snapped up its burgers, mince and sausages made from a form of fungus. The company is having to increase the number of shifts at its fermenting plant to cope with demand.

Other specialist brands have also enjoyed a surge in sales since January when regulators found horsemeat in ready-made burgers sold in supermarkets. [British supermarket chain] Asda said sales of meat-free foods had been booming in recent weeks as the scandal has widened to include well known brands including Findus and Birds Eye.

Fry’s, a South African brand which sells frozen vegetarian sausages and pies mainly to health foods shops such as Holland & Barrett, said sales had risen 30% since the beginning of February, three times the pace of its growth over the last few years.

Quorn's burgers are entirely horse-free.
cizuskas
The ingredients of Quorn burgers don’t include horse.

At the same time, sales of frozen meat burgers tumbled. From The Huffington Post:

From Jan. 17 to Feb. 17, sales of frozen hamburgers fell by a full 43 percent in the United Kingdom, according to the London-based group Kantar Worldpanel, which gathers consumer data from about 30,000 households throughout the U.K.

Bad news for burgers, great news for the planet, which would really prefer you eat more plants than animals. And hey, why not make that choice permanently? After all, those animals are only getting more expensive. The Guardian again:

Kevin Brennan, the chief executive of Quorn, said the horsemeat scandal had served to highlight the rising cost of meat protein, particularly beef, and those cost pressures would mean more and more people would seek out alternatives in future. High beef prices are thought to have been a key factor behind the contamination of ready meals with cheaper horsemeat.

Beef prices are expected to continue to rise in future. Raising a cow requires the use of a relatively large amount of feed-crops such as wheat or soybeans and, as the world’s population grows, competition for those crops will increase. At the same time, demand for meat is on the rise, particularly in parts of Asia.

“Over time beef is going to become more of a luxury,” Brennan said.

Over the long term, will people respond by choosing more plant-based proteins or tucking into some sustainable ponies?