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Tis the Season to be Vegan

by Martin Boyd

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It can’t be anything other than a good thing that the rather mean perception of Veganism (hippy-like behaviour, slightly unnourished, always looking for a type of milk I’ve not even heard of) is passing. And it’s passing at quite a rate. According to numbers on Instagram those signing up for Veganuary this month will easily overtake the 400,000 who took part in 2020. (Matched only by the amount of people unsure how to pronounce ‘Veganuary’.)

For someone who is a confirmed omnivore this needs to be taken seriously. I'll start by taking that look off my face when my daughter insists on taking me to her local Vegan Cafe in Edinburgh.

Below are some facts and figures from Plant Based News to help us make sense of the huge shift there has been in the food and hospitality sector - you can be sure if the numbers below weren’t so significant we wouldn’t see supermarket chains bringing out their own brands of plant based meals and marketing intent on bringing the vegan option into the mainstream:

  • In the UK alone, the number of vegans has increased by 360 percent since 2006, over one percent of the population

  • In the US, over two and a half percent (and growing) of the nation’s people have adopted a plant-based diet.

  • 42% of vegans in the UK are between the ages of 15 and 34 years of age, compared to the fourteen percent being over the age 65 years.

  • 88% percent of vegans polled in the UK live in urban areas*

And, of course, more importantly than any stats or facts or indeed anything...wait for it... here is a list of celebs who are celebrating their vegan lifestyle…eh, no, I’m not going to actually list them.

All this gives the background to the food and retail businesses, high street and online, working so hard to position themselves in the vegan market, some of them having to shed quite a lot of negative baggage in order to be taken seriously by those for whom Veganism is more than just a sausage roll with no meat.

For the caterer (especially in days of online ordering, but also looking ahead to things returning to face to face gatherings) making sure that your clientele know you take their vegan needs - temporary or otherwise - seriously is vital. The demand for vegan menu options means some caterers will be overlooked if they don’t step up properly.

People may be vegan for a number of reasons: health benefits, environmental reasons, a community approach to a more wholesome lifestyle, or even just what they read about Miley Cyrus.

And it would be a mistake to overlook the growing number of flexiatrians who are also looking to reduce their meat and dairy consumption for some or all of the reasons above.

The rise of Veganuary is another reminder to caterers reaching out to customers online to consider that the ability to position seasonal menus is vital.

Remarkably, it was claimed by Matthew Glover (co-founder of Veganuary) that Veganuary is a bigger feature in the retail calendar than Christmas’. Will you meet this demand? Not just in January of course, as the ability to be creative and dynamic in this field throughout the calendar year will always drive sales.

But the rise of Veganism in general is also something that will make the thinking catering manager consider how they can be upfront and centre with their options, and have an online system which allows them to adjust menus easily online, be attractive to and value those who want a vegan choice.

Spoonfed has developed its menu module to make meeting the demands of Veganuary and beyond something which can be embraced by the catering team and enjoyed by those looking to enjoy your plant based menus. Ask for a Demo of the Spoonfed system and discover how you can best serve your customers whatever the season.


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