According to The Vegan Society, there are at least 542,000 vegans in the UK – more than three times as many as there were in 2006, making veganism the fastestgrowing lifestyle movement.

The vegan diet has made such a vast impact in the past few years that big chains such as Marks & Spencer and Pret a Manger have introduced vegan ranges, as well as Wagamama creating a new vegan menu, and Pizza Hut, Pizza Express and Zizzi all offering vegan pizzas. So how are supermarkets catering for vegan consumers?

Supermarket stock growth

In 2017, Ocado saw a 1,678% spike in vegan sales, and Tesco has hired a director of plant-based innovation, Derek Sarno, former senior global chef at Whole Foods Market in the US, who will look to drastically transform the vegan offering. In an interview with Sky News, he said, “A whole-new generation of free-from-animal foods will disrupt the food service market across the board. Everybody knows someone that is vegan and more are going that way; it’s empowering and makes a difference by impacting our health, environment and the lives of animals.”

In January, Asda announced the launch of a new, affordable vegan food-to-go range that has been registered with The Vegan Society. The supermarket vowed to help those taking part in Veganuary – where consumers try the diet for a month – or following the vegan lifestyle to enjoy flavoursome meal options whenever, wherever.

The vegan lunch range aims to fill a gap in the market for great value, on-the-go options. Each product is priced at £2.50, making the range one of the cheapest vegan food-to -go options available on the market, providing a quality, good-value lunch for those following a plant-based diet. Dominika Piasecka, spokeswoman for The Vegan Society, said, “Providing vegan options makes clear commercial sense for retailers, and we are delighted to register Asda’s new vegan range with the Vegan Trademark.

“As more customers learn about the ethical, environmental and health benefits of the vegan lifestyle, many businesses have been reacting positively by introducing vegan choices.”

Andrew Johnston, Asda’s innovations development chef, added, “With more and more customers going vegan, we’ve introduced a range that not only answers the dietary needs of the nation, but that also turns favourite foods into vegan-friendly, on-the-go options.

“From onion bhajis – one of the topselling snacks in the UK – to a light Mexican bean salad, our new range ensures easy eating at any time. With a greater demand for veganfriendly versions of everyday popular items, this year will see Asda expand its vegan repertoire even more, with innovative, delicious products in the pipeline for 2018.”

Dairy-free alternatives

Last year, iconic ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s introduced a non-dairy range, made with almonds, in three flavours. The website states, “Some of you are committed to a vegan lifestyle, while others can’t or would rather not eat dairy. And all of you are missing the indulgent frozen delights you wish you could enjoy. We knew that with some hard work and experimentation we could deliver the taste and creamy texture you’ve been craving. So we did. We’ve partnered with Vegan Action over in the US to certify that our non-dairy doesn’t include animal products of any kind – including eggs, dairy or honey.”

As interest continues to grow, it also looks as if new product development will continue to expand in order to cater to consumers.