Meat free for a day – a doable or an impossible challenge? World Meat Free day (12th June) is the perfect time to stop and think about your food choices, try something new and get a bit more experimental with your meals for the day.

Did you know approx. 10% of the UK are either vegetarian or flexitarian (choose to eat meat less often) – that’s 6 million people and another half a million people are vegan. These 6.5 million people will have their own reasons for choosing these diets; health, environmental concern, animal welfare, money.

Worried about how to fill your meals instead of using meat? Here’s some great alternatives;

  • Add beans and pulses to things like curries, chillies, salads. They are delicious, nutritious (good source of protein and fibre) and less expensive than meat.
  • Bulk out your meals with veggies. This great way to increase your veg intake and help you reach your 5 a day. Why not experiment with some new veggies!
  • Give meat substitutes a go. You can use them to make all your favourite meals as usual.
  • Try egg or cheese in your sandwiches at lunchtime. Look out for reduced fat/lighter versions of cheese.

Check out our Dinner4Tonight and our magazine for meat free recipes.

If you find you quite enjoyed being meat free for the day then why not try meat free Mondays afterwards.

Get inspired

At the Co-op we’re always working on creating new vegetarian and vegan products to be enjoyed by those who choose to live meat free and have recently launched some new products in our “food to go” and ready meals ranges.

We’ve got two new vegetarian sandwiches, our mouth-watering Monterey Jack cheese, tomatillo and sweetcorn salsa sandwich, topped with soured cream, vine ripened tomatoes and lettuce on a wheat and corn roll, and our delicious Goats cheese, mango chutney and orange pepper sandwich, with flame roasted pepper chutney, tomato salsa and chilli sauce on wheat and corn bread.

If you’re Vegan, try our delicious Sweetcorn fritter, pineapple salsa, lettuce, spicy tomato salsa, red and yellow peppers, red onion and coriander on red pepper bread.

Or for a healthier option look out for our wholewheat pasta with a lemon dressing and cherry tomatoes, roasted courgette, yellow pepper and spinach. It is low in saturated fat and a source of fibre, and its vegan.

Or sample our Beetroot, Goats Cheese & Black Grains Salad and a Halloumi & citrus grains salad.

We also have a new snack pot; Sweetcorn, Black Turtle Bean and Pepper Salsa with Sweetcorn Fritters and Sour Cream and Lime Dip snack – only 284kcal.

Don’t worry we’ve kept our beetroot & feta rainbow wrap and raw rainbow salad. The vegan falafel wrap and falafel salad are also still in store.

At dinnertime, we’ve got a raft of convenient vegetarian and vegan meals, including Primavera asparagus and pea risotto, vegetable jalfrezi (vegan), mushroom risotto(vegan) , sweet potato falafel (vegan) and butternut squash and goats cheese lasagne.

For pud, enjoy our new chocolate ganache pot which is vegan and a totally delicious treat.

If you want to find out more about some of the environmental and health benefits of reducing meat intake check out the Eating Better Coalition website. You can also calculate your carbon footprint and see how you match up against the UK average.


Aoife McKernan
Assistant Diet & Health Manager (Food Policy)

Join the conversation! 8 Comments

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  2. Great to see an acknowledgement that vegan/vegetarian food is in demand. I am omnivorous but always choose meat free sandwiches and ready meals because I think they are less likely to give me food poisoning if storage has at any point in their life cycle been, or will be once it is in my shopping bag, less than perfect.
    Most important for me is to easily be able to identify what is in foods – I would like to see LARGE letters telling me if a sandwich is :
    Meat free
    Egg free
    Mayo/salad cream free
    Mustard free
    Dairy free
    etc etc on the outside of the packet- recognising that people often want to grab these items in a hurry and do not have time to look through the small print.
    Often I find an otherwise acceptable sandwich has dressings in it I don’t like – in fact it seems almost impossible to get mayo free sandwiches at the Coop, even though other supermarkets recognise this is a marketing opportunity as lots of people do not like /tolerate mayo.
    Finally – I screen out from my purchases anything in a plastic tray, so I am very pleased to see Coop sandwiches appearing in cardboard, and again I think more should be made of this on the labelling – large letters saying ‘plastic free’ or ‘10% plastic packaging’ so I can compare without peering and handling the item before deciding?

  3. Thanks, I am a Cp-op National Council member and a Trustee of the Vegetarian Society. This is a great start, but there is an emphasis on food to go or ready meals. We also need to work at the having a Co-op range of basic foodstuff that can be cooked. I’m think of things such as a veggie sausage, that makes breakfast,or a quick lunch or toad in the hole, or a burger .All our customers get 5% for meat, I have to buy quorn. Talking of which, whilst this is a great range, in our shops we have a narrow range. I end up going to other stores just to get variety.

  4. Yes! This is great, thanks for bringing in some vegan products. It was high time 😉
    Very excited about the vegan chocolate pot. Please bring in more vegan products!
    Being vegan can be much healthier than a meat and/or dairy-based diet. Not to mention it is so much better for the environment, as animal agriculture causes more greenhouse gases than all the world transport (ie cars, planes, etc) put together.

  5. Firstly can I say that the addition of your vegan products is brilliant . Can you list online all the products you stock that are vegan. But not to be a humbug but can you also cut down on your use of palm oil in products please.
    As for the comment above we do not need meat, look at the animals you eat cows , ox all big strong animals that are vegan. Omega three comes from the comes from the seaweed type greens the fish eat so again we don’t need the fish to get omega three. Dairy is not necessary at all. Diary can cause digestive problems, and cause all sorts of illnesses. Being vegan does not make us unhealthy , we have lower cholesterol, less stomach problems.

  6. Will this promotion of new and tasty veg and vegan meals be followed up by reminders about the value of meat to our diet, providing iron etc, and especially grass fed meat which is high in omega 3?( as is oily fish ). Also to remind customers of the importance of full fat milk and dairy products to children’s health, and full fat yoghurt to adults gut health. Thanks


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