by Matt Turner of the Vegan Society
Whether it be for your extended family at home or an entire restaurant over the Christmas period, it is becoming increasingly more likely that you will have to cater to the growing number of vegans in the UK. As one of the fastest-growing lifestyle movements in the country, the number of vegans has quadrupled in the last five years.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, our consumer survey found that 20% of Brits have cut down on meat consumption, with many opting for plant-based alternatives instead.
Simply put, there’s never been a better time to ensure that your vegan offerings over Christmas are top of the range. The easier it is for a vegan to enjoy Christmas in a traditional style but without harming animals, the more likely it is to be a Christmas to remember for them.
With all the wonderful products on the market and amazing recipes out there, it’s easier than ever to create a vegan Christmas meal that bears resemblance to the ones people remember from childhood – the only difference being that no animals are harmed!
Innovation and fresh ideas are key for a thriving business these days, and providing vegan food options that anyone can enjoy may be just what a business needs to grow in popularity.
For example, offering vegan cheese alongside dairy cheese makes clear commercial sense, because such products can be enjoyed by everyone, including vegans, vegetarians, the lactose intolerant, the health-conscious, dairy reducers, and those who simply want to try something new.
Not only that, but the chances are a lot of the dishes on your table are already vegan or only need little tweaks, such as using vegetable gravy in place of a meaty one or olive oil instead of animal fat to roast potatoes. In the event of catering for vegan guests alongside others, it will save you from having to cook two dishes that are essentially the same.
You can buy a ready-made vegan Tofurky roast in Holland & Barrett or make a delicious nut roast for a centrepiece. Sausage rolls will be just as tasty with vegan sausages – there is now more choice and accessibility of vegan alternatives than ever before. For dessert, you can get vegan Christmas pudding and mince pies from all major supermarkets.
The vegan takeaway industry is booming and is the fastest growing option according to Deliveroo – with demand having grown 388% between 2016 and 2018. Whether you’re catering in a restaurant or shipping dishes out to UberEats drivers, it’s vital to get ahead of the curve and start planning some great vegan dishes for Christmas.
If you’re taking bookings months in advance, it may also be worth asking your vegan guests what they’d like to eat, which means you’ll be able to plan ahead and give them a Christmas to remember. There are lots of easy vegan Christmas recipes on The Vegan Society’s website that you could use.
Lastly, don’t forget that almost any dish can be ‘veganised’ – and it only takes a little planning. This is no different over the festive period, which is a time of joy and kindness that we should extend towards all beings.