There was a time when vegan was associated with anarchist punks and earth-loving hippies who can survive on methane-inducing diets which are made up of legumes and vegetables.

At present everyone is adopting veganism and became the mainstream food for myriad individuals. It has offered cauliflower a status of equal to the meat or a renewed sense of self-worth. They can too ‘bleed’.

The UK has introduced more vegan products than any other country, which has become the nation’s fastest-growing culinary trend of 2018 with a value which is worth £310m.

While reports unfold that only 3% of UK consumers are vegan – nearly half of those made the modification in 2018 and a third are millennials – asks for vegan food is influenced by a much wider consumer base, whether for the cause of environment, reasons of health, or simply a wish to eat less meat.

In the Veganuary campaign, five years ago 3,300 people signed up. While in 2018, 168,500 people participated and the graph has scaled up to 250,000 people participated in the campaign.

Perhaps most astounding of all, Kantar predicts 92% of plant-based meal consumption in the UK in 2018 was intake by non-vegans. With nearly 22 million people now recognizing as ‘flexitarian’.

There is no wonder brands are leaping on the bandwagon.

Supermarkets have promptly responded to the prompt demand of vegans and even astute rise seen in flexitarianism past 12 months.

Tesco

Tesco is honored as the first supermarket to introduce its own-label vegan range. In the initial year of 2018 Wicked Kitchen hit the aisles of 600 stores across the nation. Led by Derek Sarno, director of plant-based innovation, within the first eight months Tesco sold four million vegan meals, prompting it to double the value to 46 items – which now includes a smoked salmon-style carrot sandwich, curried protein pot, pesto lasagne, Chinese BBQ shreds and greens and what it claims was the UK’s first vegan sausage roll (pre-Greggs).

Together with European plant-based food brands Oumph! and Vivera, which Tesco also stocks. Overall sales of chilled vegan food at the UK’s largest supermarket have grown by 25% year on year.

“What we’re seeing more and more is that the group of people that want to have a vegan-based diet is growing. And for very different reasons,” Tesco boss Dave Lewis tells Marketing Week.

“For some people, a particular niche is very important based on belief or intolerance. Then there will be other people who want a healthier diet and therefore go for a slightly different proposition.”

Morrisons V Taste range

Morrisons, which introduced its vegan V Taste range last year, has observed a similar shift in consumer behavior. As CEO Dave Potts explains: “In the area of food, there’s quite a movement going on where people are buying more vegetables, chickpea curry and not beef. That’s the biggest trend we’ve seen. Flexitarianism and people wanting to have a healthier life are altering the things they buy.

“How we respond to the shifts in consumer trends around veganism. I’m looking forward to seeing how Morrisons adjusts and reacts to that.”