The popularity of vegan and vegetarian diets is increasing due to health and financial reasons, not just moral ones. 

The number of people signing up to Veganuary, which encourages participants to go vegan for a month, rocketed last month, almost trebling from 60,000 to 165,000. 

Sales of meat-free alternatives like Quorn, and Linda McCartney, as well as vegetables are soaring. 

More health-conscious consumers, as well as rising meat prices, are contributing. 

Nathan Ward, Kantar business unit director for meat, fish and poultry, said: “One dynamic we’re seeing is that shoppers are trying to find ways to cope with rising prices and falling promotions. 

"A jacket potato and beans might be an easy midweek dinner, but consumers may also be motivated by other factors such as saving money.”

"We’ve increased our meat-free range recently, and we’re selling a lot more gluten-free too,” said Vip Panchmatia of Hexagon Stores, Andover, Hampshire. “People are doing it as a health decision as well as for moral reasons. 

"The move towards this was gradual, but it’s speeding up now." 

David Hiscutt of Londis Weymouth said: “It’s definitely a dietary and health choice as well as moral, it’s the same with gluten-free. 

"I’ve got a member of staff who’s vegan, which helps, and we’re talking to more suppliers like Tree Of Life."