UK announced as ‘world leader’ for vegan food launches

In 2018, 16 per cent of new products in the UK were vegan

Sarah Young
Sunday 13 January 2019 12:21 GMT
Tasting the Greggs vegan sausage roll

The UK is officially the world leader for vegan food launches, according to data from market expert Mintel.

When it comes to plant-based eating, Germany has long been ahead of the game with recent reports confirming that 10 per cent of the population describe themselves as vegan or vegetarian, and an impressive one in 10 new products feature a vegan label.

However, new data from market research firm Mintel has revealed the UK has now taken the helm.

Thanks to initiatives like Veganuary, there has been a sharp rise in the number of Brits opting for meat-free alternatives, which has subsequently led to more vegan products being released.

In fact, Mintel reports that around 16 per cent of new food launches in the UK in 2018 were vegan, doubling from eight per cent the previous year.

It also found that 34 per cent of British meat eaters have reduced their meat consumption in the last six months.

“For a number of years Germany led the world for launches of vegan products. However, 2018 saw the UK take the helm,” said Edward Bergen, global food and drinks analyst at Mintel.

“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.“

The vegan-friendly sausage roll became available in 950 of Greggs' stores from 3 January (Greggs)

The beginning of 2019 has already seen a number of major brands launch vegan options to their line-ups.

From Greggs’ new vegan sausage roll and McDonald’s vegan-friendly Happy Meal to TGI Fridays “bleeding burger” and Waitrose’s ‘fishless fingers’, more and more companies are beginning to accept that veganism is now a mainstream lifestyle choice.

And, according to Humane Society International UK (HSI UK), the vegan market is going to continue to grow.

“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,” said Charlie Huson, forward food programme manager at HSI UK.

“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."

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