Actor Martin Freeman back on meat after 40 years as vegetarian

Martin Freeman has given up being a vegetarian after 38 years, blaming meat replacements for being “very processed”.

The Sherlock and Hobbit actor, 52, said he originally stopped eating meat as a teenager because he was “never comfortable” with eating animals, but is now trying to have fewer processed foods and is enjoying eating “what I like”.

Speaking on the Dish podcast with radio presenter Nick Grimshaw and professional chef Angela Hartnett while eating an Italian bolognese, he said: “I’ve now come off being a vegetarian. I started being a vegetarian in January 1986.”

Explaining the lifestyle change, he said: “It’s really new going back to being an omnivore, just sort of eating what I like.

“It’s a funny one, because I like meat replacement things, but my reservation about them is they can be very, very processed and I’m trying to eat less processed food.”

The Emmy and Bafta award-winning actor and father of two described scotch eggs and pork pies as “food of the gods”, saying that he had missed out on “good, honest staple” meat dishes for decades.

Mr Freeman is not alone in adapting his diet back to animal products, with the fashion for some vegan products waning.

In August 2023, Beyond Meat, the poster company for vegan substitutes, announced sales had fallen by almost a third. It blamed “softer demand in the plant-based meat category”.

A few months later, the UN warned that plant-based alternative meat products, such as those made from soy or pea protein, were often highly processed with high levels of salt.

Many products fall into the category of ultra-processed foods, which are now widely accepted by experts to be unhealthy and potentially addictive.

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