Veganuary… And All That Jazz – Well now, are you doing ‘Veganuary’? Apparently, the most popular New Year’s resolution in the UK was to eat more healthily, with some 9 per cent of those declaring their ambition to become vegan or vegetarian.
With more and more people embracing this lifestyle option, food producers and restaurants are consequently getting on the bandwagon to offer vegan alternatives and options. And as we all know, there has been lots of hype about vegan sausage rolls. A company called OnBuy.com found that ‘KFC Vegan’ receives an astonishing 6,600 online queries every month. Thereafter, ‘McDonald’s Vegan’ is searched 5,400 times every month. ‘Pizza Hut Vegan’, ‘Subway Vegan’ and ‘Domino’s Vegan’ are each gaining 4,400 monthly Google searches. And, amazingly 23% of all new UK food product launches were labelled vegan in 2019!
Greggs, in particular, is proving to be a forerunner in the vegan fast food trend. Last January saw the release of the wonderfully controversial vegan sausage roll. After its January launch, it became one of Greggs’ top 10 bestselling products, which helped the company’s sales soar by 13.4 per cent over the year. With the recent release of the vegan steak bake this January, we’re already seeing a similar phenomenon as vegans across the country are getting access to cheap, quick ‘on the go’ vegan meals. The fact that you can now stick to a vegan diet, while still being able occasionally to indulge in fast food, has made this dietary option far more appealing to the masses.
What I don’t really understand though, is why there is need at all to create anything that mirrors something like a steak, when people have opted not to eat meat in the first place! There is already a myriad of options open to vegans: Indian and Asian dishes, in particular, are often vegan, without the need to promote the fact. Some of my favourite recipes and dishes to order when eating out are already, in fact, vegan, and many fine-dining restaurants offer vegan dishes. But don’t assume that just because a restaurant menu offers good vegetarian options, it can instantly make them vegan. Serina Drake, the owner of Michelin-starred The Clock House in Ripley, which has wonderful vegetarian menus, says: “We are always very happy to accommodate special diets – especially vegan. But do allow us some time to ensure that we are able to tweak recipes, so advise us a day or two ahead if you can.”
Many of the larger restaurant chains like Wagamama have excellent vegan options on their menus the whole year-round. We popped into the Richmond branch this week and found ourselves ordering vegan dishes because they sounded delicious –this ‘avant gard’n’ went down a storm (the ‘egg’ isn’t a real egg). And the Bang Bang cauliflower is delicious.
And of course, the fashion industry is also embracing veganism – apparently, you can now buy vegan trainers (a company called Gola if you were wondering). I wonder if vegan trainers will smell any better? That’s no mean feat! (pardon the pun).