Veganism and plant-based diets appear expensive, too difficult, and inconvenient for those considering trying them, according to a new study by plant-based app and community MeatFreed.

MeatFreed, an app connecting the plant-based community for students in key student cities, discovered that less than 1 in 10 can commit to a fully plant-based diet. A study of students* in Manchester found that nearly 7 out of 10 (69%) students want to try more plant-based meals, and a further 23% would like to be plant-based full-time if possible.

Considering sustainable diets, the survey highlights 35% would like to eat more sustainably, with a quarter (25%) already making sustainable meal choices.

However, the study also found that many of these students found barriers stopping them from sampling or fully embracing plant-based diets. The study found that nearly half (48%) cited having less options for meals on the go as the main barrier to adopting a more plant-based diet.

A further two out of five (41%) found the cost stopped them choosing plant-based meals as well as another 36% finding it hard to eat out in restaurants and at takeaways and 20% felt they would be the only vegetarian or vegan in their friendship group or families.

The study of Manchester students also discovered that a whopping 92% would like to see more plant-based options when away from home and dining out.

With Manchester students keen to try more plant-based dishes and diets, they’re also concerned about the rising cost of living with 44% feeling worried and another 43% feeling anxious about how that could impact their diets. As a result, 60% of students believe their diets will change as the cost of food increases.

To help students find sustainable meal options including plant-based dishes, the MeatFreed app launched in Manchester last month. The app brings together discounts, menus and offers from over 50 restaurants in Manchester, as well as offering rewards for choosing more sustainable meal choices.

Patrick Huang, co-founder of MeatFreed, commented: “It’s not surprising that students are growing more concerned about the cost of living and rising food prices as it’s everywhere in the media, and trying to find sustainable meal choices can be trickier than ever in all that noise.

“We chose to launch in Manchester as it’s one of the biggest student communities in the UK, and with so many Manchester students keen to try plant-based and more sustainable dishes, we wanted to help them discover the options they have right on their doorstep; and it doesn’t have to drain the student loan either.

“Cost, inconvenience and feeling awkward as the only vegan or vegetarian in a group can now be distant worries as MeatFreed helps the plant-based curious, flexi-plant-based and fully fledged vegans find the best places to eat in Manchester and at the best price.”

To celebrate World Vegan Day on November 1st, 2022, MeatFreed hosted an intimate screening of the acclaimed documentary Eating Our Way to Extinction at the Everyman Cinema at the ABC Building on Quay St, Manchester, followed by a sustainable brand showcase and after-party at the stunning rooftop terrace.

MeatFreed collaborated with local brands including fashion brand Deidei, ethical household retailer and eco cleaning brand nookary and Inland Sea, a sustainable clothing brand creating pieces from fabric containing seaweed, the first of its kind in the UK. Plant-based nibbles were served at Everyman along with vegan drinks supplied by Vin Crowd and Mixeup.

The film, narrated by Academy Award-Winning actress Kate Winslet, is a cinematic documentary that looks deep at the environmental impact on our planet from farming down to the food that we eat on our plates.

MeatFreed offers students in Manchester a community that’s open to anyone keen to try a more plant-based and sustainable diet from flexitarians to full-time vegans. With over 50 restaurant partners on board across the city, the app also offers discounts, student offers and menus for students looking for plant-based options.

Download the app or visit our website for everything you need to know about MeatFreed:


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