Reducing our intake of meat and dairy has clear benefits for animals, the environment and our health. However, these are not the only things we have to consider when buying and preparing our food – most of us also have to consider our budgets.
Luckily, saying YES to LESS meat and dairy doesn’t have to increase the cost of the weekly food shop. There are an increasing number of accessible meat and dairy alternative products, plant-based ingredients, and cost-effective plant-based essentials which can easily form the foundations of an affordable plant-based diet.
Meat Vs plant-based diet
Plant-based alternatives to meat aren’t necessarily automatically more expensive and, in fact, can actually cost you less. For example, lean beef steak mince from Tesco costs £7.16 per kg while the equivalent mince from their ‘Plant Chef’ range works out cheaper at £5.75 per kg. Similarly, pork sausages from Morrisson’s costs £6.88 per kg, while their equivalent ‘V Taste’ plant-based sausages cost £4.97 per kg.
Dairy VS plant-based diet
In the supermarket (and also in some coffee shops) plant-based milks are generally more expensive than fresh cow’s milk. 4 pints of fresh semi-skimmed milk from Asda costs £0.51p per litre while 1 litre of their long-life semi-skimmed milk costs £0.78p.
In comparison, Asda’s own brand soya milk costs £0.62p per litre, putting it squarely in the middle in terms of price.
It’s also worth noting when considering the cost of cow’s milk vs plant-based milk, that the UK dairy industry is currently subsidised by the UK government to enable prices to be kept low.
There are also predictions that milk prices will rise significantly post-Brexit.
Supermarket budget ranges
In light of increasing consumer interest in meat reduction and a shift towards plant-based diets, some supermarkets are ensuring that their plant-based products are the same price as their meat and dairy counterparts.
Co-op, for example, has a price promise that the products from their plant-based GRO range are no more expensive for the customer more than their meat and dairy equivalents. Lidl have also just launched a new budget-friendly range featuring 17 new own-brand products with prices starting from 99p.
Many dietary staples of a plant-based diet (or in fact, any diet!) are inexpensive to buy – rice, oats, couscous, bread, pasta, various varieties of tinned beans and dried lentils are all very accessible, affordable and versatile items which can provide the base for a variety of different plant-based meals.
Fresh fruit and vegetables can vary in cost – depending on whether you’re buying potatoes or dragonfruit - but it is always worth remembering that frozen fruit and veg is usually cheaper than fresh produce and comes with less food waste.
While there is now an amazing range of different plant-based foods and products on the market, at all different price points, transitioning your diet doesn’t have to cost you more.
Plus, every time you leave factory farming off the menu, you are taking a stand for animals trapped in cruel intensive farming systems.