VVQ infograph
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Vegetarian BBQ: Swap your BBQ for a VVQ this summer

  • In summer 2018, over 41,000 cows were used to make BBQ meat - that’s enough to fill Wembley Stadium TWICE.
  • 36,876,000 kg of meat was eaten, which is the equivalent weight of THREE Eiffel towers. 
  • 41,478 cows were used for the meat, which could fill Wembley Stadium twice.
  • And 325 million burgers were bought, which laid side by side equals almost the circumference of the earth.

Now, that’s a lot of meat.

vegetarian BBQ competition infograph

We’ve all heard the discussions around the importance of cutting down on meat, for both a healthier lifestyle and the environment. And the BBQ is no exception.

That’s why this summer, we’ve launched our VVQ campaign, to promote Vegan (V) or Vegetarian (V) Quisine (Q) that you can eat on the BBQ.

We’ve got some great vegetarian and vegan BBQ recipes available on our website: click here, as well as a Facebook competition to encourage keen BBQers to share their best vegetarian or vegan BBQ recipes for the chance to win, click here to enter. Plus, our content team has found some interesting stats around meat-consumption in the UK and what this means for the environment - read below to find out more. 

Whether you’re going totally meat-free or you’re just cutting down, you can still enjoy the Great British BBQ without meat.

The meat debrief: facts about BBQ meat

How much meat was eaten on BBQ’s last year?

In summer 2018:

  • Brits spent £211 million on BBQ meat, which could buy 3.5 islands in the Bahamas
  • 325 million burgers were bought. If you laid these burgers side by side, they would cover the circumference of the earth (almost)
  • 36,876,000kgs of meat was eaten, which is the same weight as 3 Eiffel towers


Why should I try to eat vegetarian food on the BBQ this summer?

There’s a lot of discussion around the importance of cutting down on meat. Not only is a reduced meat diet healthier, it also has a lesser impact on the environment and natural resources.

Did you know that with the resources needed to raise 1 cow you could produce 27,440 soy burgers? That could cater to A LOT of BBQs this summer.

BBQ competition image

How much resource does it take to make a beef burger?

It takes 14 pounds of soy and grain to make 4 beef burgers.

With the same resource, you could grow 28 ears of corn or make 56 soy burgers.

If the resource for the 41,000 cows that were used for the BBQ meat in 2018 was used to produce soy burgers instead then last year we could have made 1,125,040,000 soy burgers. If we estimate that Brits will continue to have 168.3 million BBQs a year, then this is enough soy burgers to last over 6.5 years of summer BBQs if everyone was to go meat-free.

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How much money is spent on BBQ meat?

In summer 2018, a whopping £211million was spent on BBQ meat and burgers. That’s enough money to buy 3 islands in the Bahamas.

When it comes to BBQs, Brits do love their beef burgers. But switching your BBQ menu to a meat-free alternative can be just as tasty - and it can be a lot better for your health.  Studies have found a correlation between eating red meat and an increased risk of developing diabetes, and research suggests that a plant-based diet can actually reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes [Source:www.health.harvard.edu]. Research has also shown that those who eat red meat are at an increased risk of death from heart disease, strokes or diabetes, and even cutting down meat intake can prevent these illnesses [Source:https:/www.mayoclinic.org]. Did you know, there’s also more protein in a soy burger than a beef burger? So, there’s plenty of reasons to try something new on the barbie this summer. 

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How many non-meat eaters will be at my BBQ this summer?

1 in 3 BBQ guests will opt out of eating meat this summer.

That means if you have 10 friends round for a BBQ, at least 3 of your guests are likely to not want to eat meat.

So, if you’re still not convinced that you should try to eat something meat-free on the barbecue, then consider your guests who may be going meat-free.

There was over 155 million BBQs in 2018, which was over 40 million more than in 2017. If BBQ numbers continue to rise at the same rate then the UK will see 168.3 million BBQs in 2019. There are roughly 67 million people in the UK in 2019, meaning everyone in the UK is likely to go to 2 or 3 BBQs this summer.

Vegetarian barbecue recipe ideas

Before you panic about recipe options - relax. Just because you or your guests don’t want to eat meat, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the BBQ experience.

Our Knowledge Hub has a great selection of vegetarian and vegan BBQ recipes for you to explore, from spicy baked eggs in tomato sauce to an oriental vegetable stir-fry. We’ve also got a selection of recipes from celebrity chefs as well as from our loyal customers, so there's a recipe to suit all tastes and budgets. Check out our vegetarian and vegan BBQ recipes here.

Share your vegetarian barbecue recipe ideas this summer for the chance to WIN

This summer we're giving you the chance to WIN with our VVQ competition. Simply share your favourite vegetarian or vegan BBQ recipe here and validate your entry on our Facebook page for the chance to win barbecues and accessories.

BBQ competition image


1. Cows used for BBQ meat in 2018 could fill Wembley Stadium 9 times. In Summer 2018 36,876,000 kg of meat was purchased [Source: Kantar annual supermarket report 2018], which translates to 81297663.80 pounds. An average cow produces 490 pounds of boneless trimmed beef [Source:https:/extension.sdstate.edu] 490 divided by 81297663.80 = 165,913 cows. Wembley stadium has 90,000 seats, each of which is 50cm wide [Source:wwwtelegraph.co.uk/sport/2313407/Wembley-Facts-and -Figures.html]. The average cow is 2.45 metres [Source:www.dimensions.guide], so therefore when standing would take up 5 (4.9) seats. 165,913 x 5 = 829,565. Therefore the cows would fill Wembley 9.2  times.

2.  The amount of BBQ meat consumed in summer 2018 is the same weight as three Eiffel Towers. The Eiffel Tower weighs 10,100,000kgs [Source:www.toureiffel.paris] which is the same as a third of the weight of the meat consumed in 2018 [see figure 1]. 

3. 325 million burgers were bought, which laid side by side equals (almost) the circumference of the earth. 81297663.80 pounds of meat were sold last summer [see figure 1]. An average cow produces 490 pounds of boneless trimmed beef and 1 pound of beef can produce 4 standard quarter pounder burgers. Therefore, an average cow can produce 1960 burgers. As one pound equates to 4 burgers, we can calculate that 325190655.212 burgers (325 million) burgers were sold last summer. The standard size of a quarter-pound burger is 4.5 inches, judging from standard quarter pounder burger cutters [Source:lakeland.co.uk/Quarter-Pounder-Burger-Press] which is equivalent to 11.43cm. 11.43 multiplied by 325 million is 37,147,500 meters, or 37,147.5 KM. The circumference of the earth is 40,075KM [Source: space.com].

4. With the amount of money spent on burgers in summer 2018, you could buy 3.5 islands in the Bahamas. From June to September 2018 there were 211 million burgers sold in the UK [Source: Kantar]. This could buy 3.5 islands in the Bahamas, based on a combination of islands from the following site [Source:ww.vladi-private-islands.de].

5. It takes on average 14 pounds of soy and grain to make 4 beef burgers. With the same resource, you could grow 28 ears of corn or make 56 soy burgers. Corn could be used for the 14 pounds of grain needed to create 4 beef burgers. 1 ear of corn produces about 0.50 pounds of corn grain [Source:www.beef.unl.edu] and therefore 14 pounds of grain (or 1 pound of beef) is equivalent to 28 ears of corn. A soy burger needs 65.83 gms of soy [see figure 6]. Therefore with the 14 pounds of soy needed to create 1 pound of beef, you could create 56 soy burgers.

6. 1 cow can produce 1,960 beef burgers. With the same resources needed to produce the beef for beef burgers, you could make 27,440 soy burgers. It takes 12-16 (average 14) pounds of grain and soy to produce one pound of beef [Source:earthsave.org]. Based on a Linda McCartney quarter pounder burger [Source:Sainsburys.co.uk] a 113.5gms soy burger has 65.83gms (or 0.06583kg) of soy (58% of the burger is soy, so 113.5 x 0.58 = 65.83gms). 14lbs = 6.35kg.  6.35kg / 0.06583kg = 96.46. As soy burgers have 58% soy and 42% other products (such as onion, flour etc), 96.46gms x 0.58 = 55.9 = 56 burgers.

  • Linda Mccartney Quarter Pounder burger (2 per pack) 227gms /2 = 113.5gms weight per burger. 113.5gms x 0.58 = 65.83gms of soy per burger or 1 burger = 0.06583kg of soy
  • 6.53kgms (amount of soy taken to raise a cow) / 0.06583kg = 99.195 (3dp)
  • 58% of Linda’s burgers are soy, so 99.195 x 0.58 = 57.53 burgers

So using 14lb of grain you could make 57.53 soy burgers compared to 4 meat burgers
For every 1 meat burger, you could make have the same protein to create 14.3825 soy burgers.

7. Brits will attend 2-3 BBQs this summer. According to The Grocer’s Barbecue 2019 report [Source:The Grocer], there were 115.3 million BBQs in 2017, with a rise of 8.4% meaning that there was 155.3 million in 2018.

8. 1 in 3 BBQ guests will opt out of eating meat this summer. The Waitrose food and drink report 2018-19 [Source:Waitrose.com] discovered that 12.5% of Brits are now vegetarian or vegan and 21% are flexitarian (largely plant-based diet, but will eat meat on occasion). Therefore, one third (33.5%) of consumers are deliberately cutting out meat on most occasions, saying no to meat on the BBQ.

9. If the resources that were used for BBQ meat last year were used to create soy burgers instead, then there would be enough soy burgers to last over 6.5 summers. 41,000 cows from summer 2018 x 27,440 soy burgers (1 cow = 27,440 soy burgers) = 1,125,040,000 soy burgers. 1,125,040,000 / 168,300,000 (the number of BBQs Brits are expected to have this year, based on the increase in BBQs from the past two years) = 6.684. This is over 6.5 years.