According to new figures released this week, the increased popularity of plant-based alternative foods – from frozen produce to fresh sandwiches and lunchtime options – has prompted January sales from supermarkets and high street cafes to take a sharp turn upwards as demand continues to grow. Generated thanks to ‘Veganuary’, a diet change that sees people eat completely vegan food for the entire month of January, retailers across the country are reporting huge rises in demand for plant-based foods and growing sales of products already offered. Individuals who are vegan do not eat any kind of product of or from an animal, which includes dairy, eggs and any other animal product that might be found in food.

More vegans than ever

According to the reports, the area showing most success is that of the lunchtime takeaway product, with increased sales of vegan-friendly sandwiches and wraps showing no signs of slowing over the coming months. Ingredients such as hummus, avocado, tofu and various other nutrient-rich vegetables and proteins are increasingly growing in popularity and now more retail outlets than ever are offering vegan options to cater to a growing demographic of customers. New figures suggest that Veganuary 2020 was one of the most popular challenges undertaken by people in the UK, with 130,000 people officially signing up to take part in the challenge just this year. Looking internationally, 400,000 people pledged to go vegan at the beginning of 2020 – a record-breaking figure for the company behind the now-iconic trend.

Plant-based alternatives on the rise

In response to this ever-growing demand, retailers have debuted both individual products and brand new ranges of food items suitable for vegans. Fast food restaurants including McDonald’s, KFC, Papa John’s, Greggs and Burger King all offered a new variation of their classic items that suit the vegan diet and supermarkets, including ASDA, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s have all invested heavily in promoting their ranges of vegan food products over the previous month. Retail giant Tesco even reported that sales of their vegan-friendly range of sandwiches had risen by 75% over the previous year.

Moving forward

With the growing popularity of the vegan diet, retailers and manufacturers alike are now starting to try and appeal to different demographics of eaters, including those who actively want to reduce their meat consumption but not give it up altogether – known as ‘flexitarians’. Many are now hoping that this demand stimulates innovation within the industry, encouraging manufacturers to experiment with new ingredients and products for this burgeoning market.