2019: The Year of Plants (and the Planet)

image veganuary.jpg
2019 the year of plants
  • Demand for meat-free food increased by 987% in 2017

  • 1 in 3 people regularly buy plant based milk.

  • In 2014, 3,300 people took part in Veganuary; In 2018, 168,500 people took part.

  • More than a quarter of all evening meals in the UK are vegan or vegetarian.

  • Over half (56%) of Brits adopt vegan buying behaviours such as buying vegan products and checking if their toiletries are cruelty-free.

bar.jpg
 
 

We’ve been producing vegan products for almost 4 years now, adamant that it wasn’t simply a passing trend, comparative to atkins/slimfast/all fad diets of the past (despite the contrasting opinion of most headlines in 2016), and those stats above are probably all the evidence we need that we definitely weren’t wrong. When ‘clean eating’ arrived, it brought with it a wave of new thinking. Whilst it may have been a sinking ship, weighed down by negative food associations and a myriad of unproven health claims, we still credit the fact that it was based on something that is even more prominent 5 years later: eating more plants.

And plants are gaining momentum as we head into 2019, but it couldn’t be further from niche, overpriced ‘clean eating’ of yesteryear. Veganism is mainstream and more accessible than we ever could’ve imagined - in fact choosing a vegan main this Christmas wasn’t “I’ll take the one nut roast option from Holland & Barrett” but instead a 2 hour review of all the options from all the supermarkets, before narrowing it down to a final three. Possibly the most exciting part though; it was the highlight of the meal for more than just the vegan - and there wasn’t a single bit of faux meat in sight (‘seitan is satan’ t-shirts coming soon).

PRIORITISING PLANTS

PRIORITISING PLANTS

Which got us thinking. We were initially going to write about Veganism going mainstream, but actually, more excitedly, what is going mainstream this year is plants. Our Christmas options included ‘Cauliflower Wellington’ and ‘Butternut Squash’age Rolls’ rather than just veggie sausages and some rather questionable faux turkey. It seems that it’s finally catching on that vegan food isn’t simply about trying to replace meat as closely as possible, but instead using plants to create something different and exciting. It was this that drew us towards plantbased eating in the first place, and is definitely the key to getting a ‘flexitarian’ population - why would somebody eat a fake meat replacement when they’re happy to eat the real deal? Enticing them in with something wholly different - jackfruit curry or cauliflower shawarma is surely the key.

And we’re not the only ones that think so. Because we’re really into stats at the moment (a by-product of creating endless pitch decks and investment slides no doubt), here’s a few more:

  • We were the most popular vegan ready meals on Ocado in 2018

  • Wicked Kitchen, A Tesco-exclusive Vegan ready meal range, sold 4 million meals in 33 weeks

    • AllPlants, a vegan frozen meal company just got £7.5mil investment to expand their product reach

  • Strongroots, a vegan frozen food company more than doubled its revenue in 2018

And what do all these businesses have in common? A plant-centric take on vegan food. No faux-sausage, burgers that bleed or fried seitan wings, just lots of plant protein, functional food and nutrient dense veg. Whilst their may always be a market for vegan junk food, we believe 2019 is the year of plant forward innovation.

bar.jpg

“WE ALL OFFER A plant-centric take on vegan food. No faux-sausage, burgers that bleed or fried seitan wings, just lots of plant protein, functional food and nutrient dense veg”

bar.jpg
 

WHERE TO START IF YOU WANT TO EASILY ADD MORE PLANTS TO YOUR LIFE:

  • Hello! Our range of 3 lunch boxes and 4 hot pots are available Nationwide in the UK via Ocado and are the definition of natural, plant centric meals

  • We have a lot of time for AllPlants - delicious plant based frozen meals delivered to your door. We tend to do an order every few months so we have a supply for those ‘don’t want to cook’ nights

  • If you’re looking for food-to-go, even in the remotest locations, the Tesco Wicked Kitchen range is seriously impressive. Developed by the previous Global Chef for Whole Foods, it’s innovative, forward thinking and all that we’ve tried so far has been pretty good. It’s not ‘health’ as such - a lot of gluten and preservatives (and a few cases of palm oil) but for plant based accessible food, it does the job.

  • You don’t have to forgo dessert either. If you’re a fan of Pots and Co or Gu (and who isn’t?) then try GATO and co. or Freaks of Nature for a plant based alternative (both available in Sainsbury’s)

  • Strongroots are another ‘keep in your freezer for when emergency strikes’ necessity. It’s essentially healthy freezer food (the 2018 chicken nugget) but good ingredients and delicious.

bar.jpg

A friend of ours works in product development for Greencore (a company that produces pre packed food on behalf of supermarkets) and the amount of time and effort that goes into plant based innovation is impressive.

bar.jpg
VEGAN CHOCOLATE TORTE, WAITROSE

VEGAN CHOCOLATE TORTE, WAITROSE

In fact, supermarket own brands are really on the rise too. A friend of ours works in product development for Greencore (a company that produces pre packed food on behalf of supermarkets) and the amount of time and effort currently going into plant based innovation is impressive. Just a few of our favourite finds recently:

  • Waitrose Jackfruit Tacos - quite heavy on the gluten, but pulled jackfruit, in waitrose. Pretty wild.

  • Vegan torte from Waitrose (available in packs of two similar to their cheesecakes etc. e.g. very handy) A pretty good ingredients list, no different to a lot of the online vegan cheesecake recipes

  • Waitrose (again) Creamy Vegan Sauce. 50% cauliflower based with nutritional yeast and sea salt. Yes, you could make it at home without any of the preservatives/thickeners, but having this sort of thing pre-made in a supermarket is SUCH a time saver as well as way more accessible.

  • Sainsbury’s Cauliflower + Lentil Burgers. (Yes, it’s a burger, but it’s 60% vegetable with pea flour for a protein boost - much better than the veggie burgers of 2016).

pollen + grace