By Ghanim al-Sulaiti
There are many pleasures in life – but few are like seeing something you are so passionate about become mainstream. I say this because back when I started my vegan businesses, the very concept of veganism was something unknown to most. Now? Companies, multi-national businesses, supermarkets and others are quite literally fighting a stronger presence in one of the fastest growing markets in the world: veganism.
The high street is adapting with incredible speed. Big chains such as Marks & Spencer and Pret a Manger ever-expanding vegan ranges, Wagamama has a larger vegan menu, Pizza Hut recently joined Pizza Express and Zizzi in offering vegan pizzas,
When I speak to people about veganism, they cite one or more of three key motives for going vegan – animal welfare, environmental concerns and personal health – and it is being accompanied by an endless array of new business start-ups, cookbooks, YouTube channels, trendy events and polemical documentaries. The traditional food industry is desperately trying to catch up with the flourishing grassroots demand.
Showbiz magazines and websites are full of lists of fully vegan celebrities – Ellie Goulding, Natalie Portman, Ariana Grande, Ellen DeGeneres, Liam Hemsworth, I could go on.
Earlier this year, Burger King UK ‘upgraded’ its classic Veggie Bean Burger to be suitable for vegans.
The chain confirmed to Plant Based News that there are ‘new procedures in place to prepare vegan orders to avoid meat and dairy contact’ when it comes to this new bean burger.
A spokesperson said, “Our staff have been specially trained to prepare the Vegan Bean Burger. The process will involve using separate utensils for any of our non-vegan products. Our Vegan patty will be placed in a dedicated coloured pan and heated in a clean and sanitized microwave.
Also, in the news this week is McDonald’s and Beyond Meat Partnership which has been labelled ‘Clearest Sign Yet’ that ‘Future Of Meat Is Plant-Based’
Friedrich is also the executive director of The Good Food Institute (GFI). He said, “With these two deals, the world’s largest restaurant chains are placing plant-based meat directly on the plates of millions of customers around the world. McDonald’s and Yum! Brands have doubled down on plant-based meat and have demonstrated the long-term potential they see in the category. This is the clearest sign yet that the future of meat will be plant-based.
“With more restaurants and revenue than any other food chains on the planet, McDonald’s and Yum Brands will bring plant-based meat onto the mainstream menus of millions of people,” he added.
While these food places are certainly not healthy food establishments, when these restaurant chains move in the vegan direction, the entire food industry takes notice. These agreements will have an impact throughout the global supply chain and send a strong signal for the future of plant-based meat in restaurants.
Elsewhere, the European plant-based food sector has skyrocketed 49 percent in the last two years, a new study has found.
The study has been published by the Smart Protein project in partnership with ProVeg International. It analyses ‘previously unseen Nielsen data in order to gain unprecedented insight into European consumer habits.
The report uses supermarket data from 11 European countries over the past
* The author is an expert in vegan wellbeing and health. Instagram handle: @Ghanim92
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