Processed means less guilt Vegetarians are a much weaker force in the British food market than they want us to believe, most authoritative research results putting them at about 3% of the consumer population against their claims of up to 10%. But a new batch of estimates from TN Sofres suggest vegetarians have eaten their way through 1,800t of bacon in the past year. Traders are wondering that if bacon has an identity so distinct from carcase meat as to yield the penetration into the vegetarian niche, is the industry wise in devoting so much effort to emphasising its animal welfare initiatives? The answer would be that livestock production issues are of concern to most bacon purchasers, and the vegetarians' 1,800t are negligible in a market of nearly half a million tonnes. Recent research, including strategic planning work involving senior MLC staff, has suggested the growing volume of meat consumed in very highly processed forms could be partly explained by shoppers' desire to avoid feeling guilty at being associated with the slaughter of animals. {{MEAT }}