Research shows that around one in six (16 percent) of new food launched in the UK in 2018 were vegan - doubling from eight percent in 2017.
The beginning of 2019 has seen a number of major food outlets follow suit, with TGI Fridays, Frankie & Bennys, Zizzi, ASK, Pizza Express, McDonald's and Greggs all adding new vegan options to their line-ups.
Vegan world leader
"For a number of years Germany led the world for launches of vegan products," Edward Bergen, Global Food and Drinks Analyst at Mintel, said. "However, 2018 saw the UK take the helm. Germany has certainly plateaued, likely driven by a flooded market with little room to grow further.
The UK, by contrast, has seen a huge promotion of vegan restaurants and new ranges. The most poignant of these is the expansion of supermarket own-label ranges in mainstream stores, with dedicated vegan ranges. Additional space is also being freed up by UK supermarkets in the on-the-go aisles and small format stores, to help promote vegan options and make it easier for meat-eating consumers to try these new concepts out.
"Meanwhile, initiatives like 'Veganuary and ‘meat-less Monday’ allow consumers to flirt with veganism without the long-term commitment. As more people reduce their meat intake, they experiment with more plant-based dishes catering for their flexitarian lifestyles - whether at home, on-the-go or in restaurants.
"Moreover, consumers are becoming more willing than ever to expand their comfort zones, push themselves to the limit with new experiences and use social media to compete with and offer inspiration to their peers."
"With consumers' increased knowledge about animal suffering in the food industry, and supermarket giants and restaurants competing to launch exciting vegan options, it is no wonder that eating meat-free and dairy-free is now firmly mainstream in the UK," HSI UK Forward Food Program Manager, Charlie Huson said in a statement sent to Plant Based News.
"HSI UK has universities, catering companies and institutions eager to take part in our vegan culinary training program, Forward Food, to help them meet the growing demand for plant-based food on campus.
"The fast pace of rising interest in food that is animal, eco, health-friendly, particularly amongst young people, signals that we have likely only seen that beginning of what is set to continue to be a boom in vegan-eating in Britain."