Ignore the Vegan movement at your peril

Picture of black bean goji burgers
Picture of Black bean goji burgers courtesy of veganuary.com

Restaurants and producers that cater for the growing movement set to boom in 2018

VEGAN! The very word tends to produce strong reactions in chefs, whether positive or negative, but with more than half a million people now identifying as vegan in the UK, it’s a growing consumer group that can’t be ignored by the hospitality sector. This is no longer a fringe movement.

MORE than 120,000 people have signed up to Veganuary as a pledge to follow a plant-based diet for the first month of 2018.

In 2014 just 1,500 were reportedly following a vegan diet but in 2018, there are now 542,000 vegans in the UK and nearly half are aged between 15 and 34, according to the Vegan Society.

Graph of what vegans eatIn a survey carried out by the Society in November 2017 one in five (19%) of the 2,000 adults surveyed said they had cut down on the amount of meat they buy and the same number check if their toiletries are tested on animals, and nearly one in eight (13%) now choose meat or dairy free options from the menu when eating out.

Around half of those surveyed (51%) said they welcomed the rise in vegan foods available in shops, cafes and restaurants, with almost one in 10 (9%) saying they would like to see an even greater choice of vegan food options on offer.

A third thought there should be better education in schools to teach about the impact of animal farming on the environment, 26% said prisons, schools and hospitals should provide a vegan option by law and 9% think there should be a tax on animal based products.

The wine industry too has responded to the call for more vegan-friendly wines. The Co-op is just one retailer that has ambitious plans to increase its vegan wine range to 100 labels by the end of the year, eight of which will launch next month (February).

The supermarket has been working with winemakers around the globe to develop a range of vegan-friendly fining agents used to filter wines and improve the clarity of the final drop.

These agents have traditionally been made from animal products like egg whites, casein, gelatine and isinglass, which are extracted from the swim bladders of fish.

Among the vegan-friendly fining agents used in the Co-ops vegan wines are peas, potatoes and carbon and clay-based agents.

“We are anticipating vegan wines to pick up momentum in 2018, so our range will be expanding throughout the year and we will continue to challenge suppliers to make wines vegan where they can without affecting the attributes of the liquid,” Simon Cairns, the Co-op’s wine category trading manager, told The Guardian.

Last October Majestic added vegan and vegetarian symbols to its wine labels and on its website to help vegan wine lovers find drops that are suited to them. The retailer currently boasts 32 vegan-friendly wines in its portfolio.

Go to Happy Cow to find a vegan restaurant in your area.