Shoppers are being pushed towards veganism as the cost of dairy and meat soars faster than plant-based alternatives.
The cost of dairy milk has risen by 26.7pc compared to this time last year, according to comparison site Trolley, while almond and oat milk have increased by 7.9pc and 8.2pc respectively.
Meat prices have also risen faster than their plant-based counterparts, in some cases far beyond inflation. The cost of chicken breasts has jumped by 17.4pc, while Quorn chicken-style pieces rose by 10.4pc. Sausages are up 8.6pc since last year, compared to vegan sausages, which are 7.7pc more expensive.
The consumer prices index of inflation was 9.9pc in the year to August.
Richard McIlwain of the Vegetarian Society, a charity, said the organisation had received an influx of calls and website visitors as shoppers turned to cheaper non-meat alternatives in the supermarket.
“What we are hearing is that people who perhaps ordinarily wouldn’t have considered a vegetarian or vegan diet are now doing so for economic reasons,” he said.
“I think we’ll be looking at tens of thousands of people moving to, or at least experimenting with, vegetarian and vegan diets over the next few months.”
Rising food prices have been a major driver of inflation this year, as the war in Ukraine – historically a key supplier of wheat and other grains – has pushed up costs around the globe.
Meat and dairy products have followed suit, as feed for livestock has also become more expensive. According to a survey conducted by the Vegetarian Society more than a quarter of the population (27pc) are cutting down on meat to save money.
Mr McIlwain said the cost of living crisis and concern for the climate had pushed more middle-class families to consider diets which avoid expensive meat and dairy items.
“A lot of people are talking about being squeezed, between increased food prices and soaring energy bills,” he said.
“We are also seeing an increased interest in using things like slow-cookers, which are cheaper to run, as a lot of vegan recipes like curries lend themselves to a slow cooker.
An Oxford University study, published last year, revealed households on a vegan or vegetarian diet could cut down their food bill by up to a third.