13 stories that explain the vegan trend

04 January 2022, 11:39 AM
  • Veganuary brings plant-based food into the spotlight every January – but what should fine food retailers know to get this trend right in their shops?
13 stories that explain the vegan trend

The time for vegan food exploration is here with Veganuary 2022, but if you’re still trying to wrap your head around the breakaway success of Greggs’ vegan sausage roll or the ever-expanding list of plant-based milks, we’ve rounded up the must-know stories that will give you all the tools you need to succeed this January and beyond.

There are more vegan products on your shelves than you realise

Most people will come into your shop with assumptions about which foods are vegan and which aren’t, but there are plenty of products out there that are, and always have been, ‘accidentally vegan’. “This is where signposting from the retailer is so important – both on the shelf but also in the window or on signs outside the shop,” says Toni Vernelli, international head of communications and marketing at Veganuary. “During January, displaying all of your vegan products in one area is a great idea so it’s easy for those deliberately seeking out vegan goods to find. The rest of the year it’s better to keep vegan products in with similar products but clearly label them as vegan. This way non-vegan customers will still discover them and vegans will easily know the products are suitable for them too,” Toni continues. Read more in our January issue here.

Global vegan cuisine: two birds with one stone

With world food gaining relevance in the UK, retailers can use this opportunity to bolster their plant-based offering too. Global food fans are now looking for international meat-free options, Tasneem Alonzo of EHL Ingredients recently told us, and shoppers are increasingly open to “more distinct, unusual flavours with exotic-sounding names”. Read more about this trend here.

Plant-based protein is on the rise

While going vegan once meant restricting your options at supermarkets and restaurants, the amount of plant-based food and drink on offer today is always expanding. Big brands are putting large investments behind alternative protein or lab-grown meat, and start-ups are bringing fresh eyes which help the industry go from strength to strength. Discover more about what’s next for vegan meat alternatives here.

Veganism is going mainstream, and the multiples want to cash in

You only have to scan the shelves of any mainstream retailer today to know that plant-based food is on the mainstream menu. Last year, major supermarkets ramped up new product development and Veganuary-inspired campaigns as flexitarianism ensures that vegan products are popular year-round. Read all about these trends here, and discover how indies can get ahead of the competition when it comes to vegan food and drink here.

Plant-based doesn’t always equal healthy or sustainable

As the rise of plant-based meat snacks and fast food options shows, vegan food isn’t always healthy, and it doesn’t always come with superior sustainability credentials built-in either. Writing exclusively for Speciality Food, Minette Batters, president of the NFU, describes how the farming sector is changing to embrace animal welfare and minimise its climate impact. Amid the growing popularity of Regenuary, we also explore the question of how sustainable vegan food really is here.

Plant-based milk is a booming sector

The jewel in the crown of the plant-based food sector is alt-milk. In 2019, UK sales of vegan milks were up 28.3%, and more product choice and innovation than ever has seen products fly off the shelves for the past two years, too. A third of Brits used plant-based milk in 2021, up from a quarter in 2020, and spending on plant-based milk has reached £394m. Read more about the most popular varieties – and where traditional dairy stands now – here.

Education is still key

While the food and drink industry has seen a boom in product launches onto the UK market, particularly in recent years, there is still a job to be done in terms of education and ensuring that shoppers are fully aware of the impact of their decision – whatever their chosen approach may be. Discover the role retailers can play in educating flexitarian or vegan-curious shoppers here.

More growth is imminent

With initiatives such as the National Food Strategy encouraging consumers to eat less, better meat – Henry Dimbleby’s report said meat consumption will have to go down by 30% by 2032 to meet existing targets on health, climate and nature – and consumer interest in vegan food growing, stocking fine plant-based products is a no-brainer. Read more about the growth prospects for the market here.

Get ready for more scrutiny on plant-based products

As vegan food and drink products become more mainstream, be prepared for customers to raise their expectations. They’ll be looking for quality ingredients and businesses that give something back to society or the environment. Read more about the next stage of the plant-based trend here.

How have you seen the vegan trend evolve in your shop? We’d love to hear your view, so get in touch with courtney.goldsmith@aceville.co.uk

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