Why veganism is becoming a tastier prospect

As recently as ten years ago, ‘veganism’ and ‘plant-based’ were loaded phrases, reserved for the tiny subset of people who chose a diet widely viewed as hyper-restrictive, bland, and even unhealthy. It was seen as the preserve of a tiny, hardcore few.


Fast-forward ten years and how outdated such thinking feels now. In towns and cities throughout the country and beyond, eating vegan has gone from niche to knocking down the door of mainstream. The availability of vegan options has become ubiquitous in even the unlikeliest of places.


The numbers are startling. Over 400,000 British adults made the change to veganism over the past 12 months. More than 7 million of us now follow some form of meat-free diet in the UK. Deliveroo has reported sales of its vegan food suppliers have increased by over 160% in 2020. And who can forget the feverish buzz generated by Greggs’ venture into plant-based cuisine with its vegan sausage roll?


It has been a combination of factors that has led to this explosion in veganism. The impact that farming all animal products and meat itself in particular has on the environment is enormous, and has become much more widely publicised. As supply chains of factory farmed meat are scrutinised, and people see the realities of their ‘free-range’ salmon or organic eggs, they are beginning to vote with their feet. Being an environmentalist increasingly necessitates evaluating your food choices.


Outside of the environmental impact, people are becoming increasingly health-conscious too. Making the change to vegan alters the way we look at food altogether. Regularly consuming red meats has been linked to carcinogens. Cutting down on or eliminating meat and dairy can reduce inflammation in the body. And making vegetables and plant proteins the centre of your plate instead of the side loads us up with heart-happy, healthy vitamins and minerals.


The biggest hurdle for vegan alternatives was, and still is, the legacy of the first vegan and vegetarian products. The first brands and products that came to market were poor substitutes for what was considered the ‘real thing’. I remember lifeless, dry imitation meats and vegan cheeses that stubbornly refused to melt. But we have come on leaps and bounds since then. The vegan food industry is now dynamic and bursting with delicious flavours and ideas.


Veganism is no longer the diet restriction it used to be. All cuisines from across the world, from the fiery dishes of the Indian subcontinent, to the hearty Italian fare of pizza and pasta, can be enjoyed by the plant-based eater. Even foods considered previously inimitable, like the breakfast omelette, can be rustled up using vegan egg mix. We are reaching a point where the only limit will be your imagination.


It is expected that 1 in 4 Brits will be vegan or vegetarian by 2025. With all the tasty alternatives already out there, and the momentum well and truly behind the movement, there’s never been a better time to go plant-based.


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