Vegan food.Are you ready for the lifestyle revolution?

Like a lot of things in life, our eating preferences can be ‘faddy’. But even when our choices change, it’s usually slowly or in baby steps. Or that’s how it used to be before a revolution in vegan food brought about its meteoric rise in popularity.

Where once veganism was looked on, at best, as a small, minority interest, the way we view what we eat has turned this market sector into a growth phenomenon. Today, the ‘minnow’ that drifted along almost unnoticed, is now firmly rushing into the mainstream of our daily eating habits, led in no small part by the staggering number of delicious ingredients and dishes available everywhere...from the food-service industry to the supermarket chiller.

In the blink of an eye, vegan retail values have rocketed into the eye-watering multi-billions. New product launches are dominated by plant-powered options. Vegan additions to menus mirror a demand that’s expanding exponentially. And these trends are being repeated right around the world.

In fact the numbers are so mind boggling it’s fair to assume that an estimated doubling of the retail market in the next five years could prove to be decidedly on the safe side. Especially when we bear in mind perhaps the most startling statistic of them all. 92% of vegan food is eaten by non-vegans!

One influence...after another...after another!

So many different things are coming together to drive the astonishing growth in demand.

For a start, the eating choice we’ve always known as ‘vegan’ is undergoing something of a rebrand. The idea of ‘plant-based’ or ‘plant-powered’ food is now the order of the day with a majority of adult consumers now looking for this description rather than the usual ‘vegan’.

Partly this may be because it helps define a dish as being meat, dairy and egg free. But it also feeds into our rapidly increasing respect for the environment and the widely held idea – particularly by Gen Z – that vegan eating is more transparent, eco-friendly and sustainable. In essence, it’s food that respects a world fit for future generations.

Then there are our health concerns, brought increasingly into focus over the last 18 months by the way we have adapted our lifestyles during the pandemic. More and more of us are reviewing what we eat and how it impacts on our physical and mental wellbeing, our fitness, and our long-term health prospects. Flexitarianism offered us the chance to mix-and-match a more balanced diet. Vegetarianism offered us a meat-free option. But veganism allows us to focus entirely on a lifestyle that seems more in keeping with the 21st Century.

And the biggest change of all?

In a nutshell…it’s the food itself. It’s changing.

In part, this is thanks to an expanding fanbase adding to the recipes and dishes we’re encountering every day, helped and encouraged by an online army of ‘influencers’ who are spreading the word.

But the biggest factor of all is innovation. Food technology has been on a fast and steep learning curve, the outcome of which is that meat-free, dairy-free ingredients have progressed in leaps and bounds.

PlantNation Grated and Pizza are a perfect example. The breakthrough HPC Technology™ used in the manufacturing process has created cheese alternatives that not only look and tastes like cheese, but perform like cheese too. These qualities alone make it particularly appealing, not just to the person who eats the “cheese” but to the chefs who prepare the dishes. In fact, it’s so good it could be cheese. But it’s not!

So now you can produce a vegan pizza, topped with a perfectly melted and browned plant-powered “cheese”, the menu options simply grow and grow.

Now it’s ‘plant-power’ to the takeaway

Thanks to the unprecedented growth in online delivery options, the many independents who have changed their business focus, and the lifestyle changes we’ve all made over the last year or so, takeaway food is bigger than ever. And, as in every other market sector, it’s vegan food that’s leading the way.

In the years running up to 2018, orders for vegan takeaway almost quadrupled. All the signs are that this trend continued up until 2020. And then came ‘stay-at-home’ Britain, with a population newly determined to exercise, stay fit, and eat more healthily.

So it’s fair to assume that in the last 18 months, demand for vegan food – especially takeaways – has probably gone right up through the velux!

Only time will tell. Watch this space…

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