Going veggie – the best thing you can do for your finances?

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 15th May 2017

As far as reasons to go veggie are concerned, financial prudence has never been as high up the list as say, animal welfare, or concerns about the impact of intensive farming on the planet.

However it might just be rising up the ranks as inflation bites, the cost of Brexit takes its toll and your Jamón ibérico habit starts to really pinch (not just the waistline). One of the unintended consequences of Brexit, perhaps, is that it might just make veggies of us all.

As National Vegetarian Week begins and a greater than usual number of pictures of Stella McCartney appear in the papers, as well as reams of info on how much healthier our bodies and the planet would be if we all cut out meat, we thought the cold, hard financial reasons would be worth a gander too.

The average household spends £41,600 on meat and £8,100 on fish over the course of a lifetime, but just £16,300 (of which £2,800 is spuds) on fresh vegetables, according to the Tilney Cost of Tomorrow report. This suggests going vegetarian could be a considerable money-saver.

Not surprisingly, it’s the live-it-up baby boomers in the 50 to 64 age range, who spend the most on meat, at £950 a year. Whereas their impoverished children who are under 30, a much lower £600 a year.

Just think what those older carnivores could do for their juniors’ prospects of home buying and debt avoiding if they only cut back on the salami? As measures go, it could be far more effective than active stock selection on the ISA portfolio.

As an aside, veggies can have expensive taste too. And if you supplement your vegetable-based diet with truffle oil and parmesan from the continent (have you SEEN the price of parmesan post-Brexit negotiations?!?!), savings might not be so great.

Despite the clear incentives to save money on top of the many more well-known benefits, only 2% of the population are vegetarians, or 1.2 million people. Teenagers, the demographic with arguably the strongest ideals of the lot of us, make up the highest proportion, according to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey.

The cheapest diet may turn out to be both veggie, local and seasonal. But will lower food bills be enough to encourage us off the steak and bacon?

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