A decade ago, it was in short supply for vegans in UK supermarkets, which offered little in the way of plant-based foods – Linda McCartney was as good as she got.
Fast forward 10 years and the vegan diet is not only gaining popularity, it is driven in part by supermarkets. According to Veganuary, a campaign to get people to adopt veganism in January, the UK food giants have helped inspire a record 500,000 people to make the pledge this year. New vegan products and dedicated vegan pages on supermarket websites, he says, have helped recruit new recruits.
“The way British supermarkets have embraced Veganuary this year is truly revolutionary,” said Toni Vernelli of Veganuary. “They are not just using it as a marketing opportunity, they are promoting the many benefits of plant-based diets and encouraging people to try it. As bastions of our food supply, they know that the only sustainable way forward is to focus on plants. “
With the UK market for vegan foodstuffs forecast to rise to £ 658 million this year, there is of course a financial incentive for supermarkets to jump on the (meatless) gravy train and offer more foodstuffs. of vegetable origin. Enter Asda, which announced this week that it will be testing a vegan butcher counter at its Watford store.
Deliveroo also provides further evidence that plant-based diets have made its way into the mainstream, reporting this week that vegan takeout orders have increased by 163% so far this year.
Besides being a boon to the bottom line, veganism is also good for the environment. A 2019 study from the University of Oxford concluded that adopting a plant-based diet could be the single most important way for people to improve their health and that of the planet.
Lead Image: Brooke Lark