Seeds of Change
By Jennifer Urey
The January 1st hangover breakfast is out of the way, and Veganuary is out in full force; with 300,000 people (and 30% of our office) anticipated to take part, 2019 is set to be the largest Veganuary to date. Just Eat named veganism as a top consumer trend in 2018, due to a 964% increase in healthy food ordered, while the number of people identifying as vegan has increased by 350% compared to a decade ago, according to research commissioned by Vegan Society in partnership with Vegan Life.
Big grocers have been investing in NPD and embracing the rise in plant-based consumer spending, with Sainsburys notably trialling ‘wellness’ aisles across seven stores, and Iceland introducing vegan pizzas to its roster to mark Veganuary. With Veganism no longer seen as a short term ‘trend’ but as a healthy and more sustainable lifestyle, is it time for more brands to jump on the plant-based band wagon?
Here’s our cream of the crop:
2018 saw more vegan Christmas dinners than ever before, so Tesco partnered up with cooking duo Bosh! to help cater for the 11.8 million choosing a plant-based meal. The 5 course ‘Vegmas’ event included vegan wine and ‘bangers in blankets’, as well as options from the Tesco vegan range, to show how easy it is to cater for and add more plant-based meals to your dinner table.
Fullers Veggie Kitchen
Following a spike in requests for vegetarian and vegan meals, and with beer garden season fast approaching, Fullers brewers activated an urban vegetable garden in one of their pubs last May, showcasing their plant-based dishes and vegan beers and wines.
Greggs Vegan Sausage Roll
If you haven’t seen the release of Greggs vegan sausage roll, where have you been? After 20,000 people signed a petition asking for a plant-based snack, Greggs gave the public what they wanted just in time for Veganuary. Not everyone was a fan of the idea but, sorry not sorry, I’m off to get mine now.
Costa Dairy Free
Ready for Veganuary, Costa have added two new non-dairy milk alternatives to their menu, with semi-skimmed lactofree milk and almond milk joining Costa’s seven milk line-up.
Marks and Spencer’s Plant Kitchen
There’s a tired misconception that a vegan diet means salad followed by salad, and it’s something that M&S are keen to change. Last week the grocer launched their vegan range, Plant Kitchen, which features ready meals, snacks and ingredients to make your own dishes at home. The range is full of ‘dirty vegan’ comfort foods including cauliflower popcorn, cashew mac ’n’ cheese and sourdough pizzas that will appeal to even the most avid meat eaters.
What was once seen as fad is resolutely here to stay. Leveraging this growing market niche doesn’t have to mean large scale events, new product development or huge marketing spends; there are many ways to embrace the opportunity and we are looking forward to seeing more brands getting involved. Perhaps the below can provide some inspiration.
Hippeas are donating to the Veganuary campaign for every person who takes a pledge to go meat and dairy free this month via their website.
Following Animal Aids ‘Mark it Vegan’ campaign since September; Waitrose provide clear labelling on all own brand foods that meet the requirements. Not only to enable those to easily find suitable products but also show all the delicious options available.
Vegan beauty brand e.l.f Cosmetics teamed up with 5 beauty bloggers back in July to support animal rights causes. Each influencer chose an organisation close to their heart and a favourite e.l.f product, with 10% of profits from each influencer’s product donated to the chosen organisation that month.
Big name franchises, big name celebs and everything in between are turning green. Power couple Beyoncé and Jay Z have pledged their allegiance to a plant-based diet and have challenged their fans to give it a try. If it’s good enough for Beyoncé, then its good enough for me.