Its January 2020 and if you’re partaking in Veganuary, your over halfway through (Don’t know what Veganuary is, check out the website here). With a quarter of a million people expected to ditch animal products this month, there is more choice than ever before for the on-the-go eater.
Veganism historically has been the butt of many jokes but a shifting attitude towards alternative eating preferences due to both ethical and ecological reasons has hit the news hard. Coupled with a swift shift in consciousness around ingredient checking, rightly so due to some horrific events that have received national coverage, hospitality giants have had to adapt fast.
With many changes already hitting the fridges and kitchens across the country what are our favourite eateries offering and how are they adapting?
Greggs has obliterated the competition when it comes to embracing and marketing new food products. Last year they received colossal success with its vegan sausage roll which led to the company increasing its profits which they have since announced they are ploughed this back into its employees as a bonus. This year they have attempted to take another bite of the vegan apple by launching a meat-free version of its classic steak bake. The buzz around these products has seen hordes of baked-good fans fight to be the first to sample, which is not only great for business but also gives a social insight, proving that vegan food is being widely embraced socially. Have you done the taste test yet?
KFC has also launched a marketing campaign off the back of their ‘imposter burger’ last summer. They launched a permanent ‘zero chicken’ burger, made from Quorn encased in original recipe seasoning, lettuce and accompanied by vegan mayo. This is an attempt for KFC to cater for all dietary requirements and market their restaurant’s as social spaces that are welcoming to all. Whether this will work for the brand it’s still a positive step in the right direction.
Equally other brands are bucking the trend with McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Caffe Nero, Subway and Costa all revealing similar meat substitute items on their menus, many of which are receiving praise for tasting great. Other notable chains with new products include Pret A Manger, who have realised fishless Chuna Mayo and baconless VLT sandwich options, and Pan-Asian chain Wagamama who have launched a watermelon tuna and experimented with creating a vegan egg which met with mixed reviews. It’s testament to the power of public opinion and how this is forcing companies to be more innovative in what they offer.
Supermarkets have also increased the range of options for vegans and vegetarians with Aldi and Marks & Spencer realising new ranges. I have purchased products from a variety of stores and have enjoyed these new offerings. This coupled with close family and friends which adopt vegan and vegetarian lifestyles has probably led me to subconsciously change to eating less meat and embracing a new flexitarian diet. This is probably the case for many people and just strikes up the conversation, if the food tastes great then everyone’s a winner.
It could be argued that by purchasing from these companies it’s still ethically a conundrum. You’re still investing in companies that provide animal products on the menu, but for the first time, there are so many options for consumers where there wasn’t before.
Social change is something that needs to be addressed by companies and with consumers demanding clarity on what they consume, who knows whether the future human diets are. Whether its herbivore rather than carnivorous, it seems certain that inclusivity and being ethical on any level is always the right thing to do. But for now good luck with the rest of your challenge!