YAY! Veganism Continues to Rise in the UK!
Not so long ago, the term vegan was scaring the life out of mothers and grandmothers across the UK. The look of dread on their faces when explaining that you had made the switch or, even worse, started dating someone who was vegan! Frantically scouring their cookbooks for a stuffed pepper recipe and cursing under their breaths.
Don't get me wrong, this hasn't disappeared!! However, veganism is becoming increasingly more mainstream and has seen massive growth in the past 4 or 5 years. The Vegan Trade Journal points out that almost half of all UK vegans have made the switch since 2018! Sainsburys' 'Future of Food' Article predicts that vegans and vegetarians will make up a quarter of the UK population within the next 5 years!
The biggest shift that we've noticed, however, is the increase of flexitarianism. Menus across the UK are including an increasing number of vegan options, the quality of which show that vegan options are no longer a mere afterthought, but are oftentimes the main event! Restaurants like Mildred's, Genesis and Wave are packed with vegan and non-vegans alike on the hunt for the latest vegan taste sensation.
In the UK, a lot more of us are choosing to eat less meat and are experimenting with vegan dishes. Huge slabs of beef or pork are being replaced with weird and wonderful ingredients like jackfruit, tempeh and seitan. The vegan mainstays tofu, lentils and mushrooms are being used in more and more ingenious ways to create mouth-watering delicacies.
Alongside this increase in veganism, we've seen an enormous increase in the range of products available. The Guardian reported that nearly 1 in 4 new products brought to market last year was vegan-friendly. In supermarkets, where there was once usually 1 sad little shelf hidden away in the back somewhere, stocking a few gluten-free or vegan products, it's now common to find large sections dedicated entirely to 'free-from' products!
Vegan chocolate has been one of the great vegan success stories in recent years. Chocolate lends itself nicely to veganism as the dairy can easily be replaced with delicious and natural cocoa butter, generally with devastatingly delicious outcomes! However, the best part of the rise in vegan chocolate is the adoption, by almost all producers, of an exceptional approach to ingredient sourcing! At YAY! Vegan! almost all of the companies we work with are Fairtrade certified, which makes an incredible difference to the lives of the cocoa farmers in some of the most deprived regions on the planet.
A lot of vegan chocolate producers work directly with family-owned cocoa plantations in South America and West Africa sourcing almost all of their ingredients from a single point of origin. In these instances, all of the profits go directly to the farmers, instead of being eroded by countless middle men.
Coupled with this, is the dedication by vegan chocolate producers to cut out plastic from production lines, opting instead for paper, card and foil, which can be recycled or even composted.