Grow your menu - Macphie

300,000 people – and counting – have signed up to Veganuary 2022 – a month-long pledge to “go vegan”. Last year, the campaign was so successful that of the 580,000 people to sign up, over 80% stated that while they weren’t vegan before taking part in Veganuary, they maintained a dramatic reduction in their animal product consumption afterwards (Veganuary, 2021).

The movement is being largely driven by young people with 70% of school children stating they’d like to see more vegetarian and vegan options on menus (LACA) and another study showing that 50% of 16 to 24-year-olds no longer eat meat (KBK).

The vegan trend is taking off in bakery, too. Over 40% of Millennials in Western Europe say they seek out vegan cakes and pastries (Barry Callebaut).

In 2022, when it comes to vegan options, if you’re not fast, you’re last. Gone are the days where vegan or vegetarian consumers are satisfised with a pasta dish as their only main course option and fruit salad for dessert. Christmas 2021 saw festive ranges bursting with vegan and plant-based options and this variety has set the trend for the year ahead.

Last year, over 800 new vegan products and menus were launched for Veganuary 2021 and operators are going even bigger this year to draw in the crowds. Wagamama has launched a new vegan fish and chips dish. Egg alternative brand Oggs announced a collaboration with the Bella Italia restaurant chain for Veganuary and British burger chain Honest burgers is launching a new fully vegan concept restaurant, V Honest.

Mexican restaurant group Wahaca is celebrating Veganuary with the launch of a dedicated vegan set menu, available in restaurants and via Deliveroo. And dough ball fans rejoice as Pizza Express launch a vegan version of its iconic garlic butter!

So why is everyone veering towards vegan? Veganuary asks participants why they’re signing up with the top reason being animal welfare (46%), followed by health (22%) and environment (21%). But whatever the reasons are for more people adopting a vegan diet, the outcome is the same – increased demand for vegan options.

This movement is showing no signs of slowing so make sure your menus are well-equipped with vegan options to stay on trend in 2022 and beyond.

Vegan, but not vegan

And remember, not everyone who eats vegan, is vegan. The pandemic gifted consumers the free time to be inspired by new food concepts and break out of dinner-time ruts. A study by the Vegan Society found that 54% of respondents bought alternative meat products for the first-time during lockdown and 78% intended to continue buying them.

Whether there’s a desire to reduce meat consumption for health reasons, or to up their plant-points, we’re seeing diners opt for a flexitarian diet – 33% of consumers to be precise (Lumina Intelligence, 2022) – which gives them the health benefits of going vegan, without the rigidity of the complete diet. And although vegan diners remain a minority group, their position counts when it comes to group dining and their requirements will be considered when choosing where to eat out.

Helping the industry tap into the vegan movement, Macphie has grown its offering with a range of 36 vegan-certified products including plant-based options.

The certification means Macphie can display the Vegetarian Society Approved vegan trademark on the relevant products. Each product has been independently investigated to make sure it meets the following criteria:

  • It is free from animal-derived ingredients
  • There is no cross-contamination during production
  • It is GMO-free
  • No animal testing carried out or commissioned

Macphie’s insights and marketing manager Kirsty Matthews said: “Our plant-based products have been specifically designed to meet the growing demand for vegan food.

“Many of our existing products were already vegan suitable but we felt the approved vegan trademark provided an added layer of assurance for our product users.

“We anticipate the demand for vegan food to continue to rise and we’re working with customers to show how this can help grow your menu, not restrict it.

“Our chefs have created a range of recipe ideas using our plant-based and vegan products – some completely free from animal derivatives, and others using store cupboard staples to show how they can be integrated into other meals within your restaurant menu or bakery offering.”