When the New Year hits, some people do juice cleanses, some try to eat fewer sweets, and some abstain from booze. Others do Veganuary (vegan + January), a month-long pledge to not eat any animal products which is backed by a U.K. charity. Started in 2014, Veganuary is reportedly about to have its biggest year yet, with over 170,000 people signed up to participate. And that doesn’t include those participating independently.
Beyond New Year’s resolutions, demand for plant-based foods (especially protein) is on the rise. In 2019, the plant-based protein market is expected grow at a CAGR of over 8 percent globally.
When it comes to feeding this demand, the U.K. is one of the leaders as we start 2019. Over half of all Brits either are flexitarian or are interested in pursuing a flexitarian diet. And retailers, from fast-food joints to grocery chains, are taking notice. Here are a few of the most interesting plant-based products that launched in the U.K. this Veganuary:
In celebration of Veganuary, Pizza Hut announced this week it would launch a limited-edition vegan pizza topped with jackfruit, a popular meat substitute, on January 1. Memorably dubbed the Jack ‘n Ch**se (see photo above), the pizza will feature a tomato base, dairy-free cheese, corn, red onions, peppers, and BBQ jackfruit, all covered with a BBQ sauce drizzle. It costs £11.29 ($14.23 USD) and is available at all 253 Pizza Hut locations in the U.K. If Pizza Hut sells at least 10,000 of these vegan pizzas by the end of January, they will become a permanent menu item.
Greggs, the largest bakery chain the U.K., is embracing Veganuary by vegan-izing its most popular product: the sausage roll. Starting on January 3, the company will roll (ha) out a vegan version made with meat substitute Quorn. The roll will be available in 950 Gregg’s locations for £1 ($1.24).
Last year PETA launched a petition urging Greggs to create a vegan version of its sausage roll. It was signed by 20,000 people. But the quick-service bakery has reportedly been working on a vegan sausage roll recipes for quite a while in order to capitalize off of increased demand for meat-free products.
Sainsbury’s is ramping up its selection of vegan products in the New Year. According to LiveKindly, the U.K. grocery retailer launched 29 new plant-based products on January 1, including mushroom-based minced “beef” to jackfruit burgers to something intriguingly called a “shroomdog.” These additions bring Sainsbury’s lineup of vegan products to over 100 items, which makes sense: the chain recently reported a 20 percent rise in sales of meat-free items.
It’s a widely known fact that Brits love fish ‘n chips — but what about fishless fish n’ chips? Grocery chain Waitrose just rolled out its own brand of Fishless Fingers, which are essentially sticks of flavored tofu breaded with, among other things, seaweed. The vegan fish sticks cost £3.19 ($4.02) per pack through January 30, at which point they’ll jump up to £3.99 ($5.03).
British QSR’s and grocery chains are reading the tea leaves (or the consumer reports): plant-based foods are only going to continue to grow in popularity, spurring demand for better-tasting, cheaper vegan foods. U.K. companies are jumping in headfirst, launching wide varieties of vegan/vegetarian products at accessible price points. As we in America work to take advantage of the recent boom in plant-based eating, we might want to look across the pond for an example.
If you get the chance to try any of these products, we’d love to hear how you liked them! Leave a comment or tweet us @TheSpoonTech.