There is no denying that veganism is growing rapidly, with reports claiming it has risen by 360% in the last 10 years in the UK alone, and this rise has been driven mainly by the younger generations, with over 40% of vegans being aged between 15 and 34. Without the need of looking at reports or statistics, those that have been vegan or even vegetarian for more than a couple of years would have noticed the growing number of products available in supermarkets, vegan meals added to restaurants chains, as well new vegan eateries popping up what seems like almost monthly, especially across London. In 2017 so far, we are aware of more than 5 different vegan eateries that have opened in different parts of London, with 3 of them having opened within the first three weeks of the year: Sanctuary in West London, Without Café in South London and Temple of Hackney (previously a pop-up) in East London. Five or six new places in such a big city in less than a month perhaps doesn’t seem like much or like a big deal, but when you think about the vegan community only accounting for around 1% of the British population, then you realise it is actually a huge deal. Also makes you wonder, how many more vegan eateries will be open by the end of 2017. Then there's also THREE places across the UK that have turned fully vegan in the last few weeks; one of them being Picky Wops, which is just down the road from us at GreenBay.
There’s also Veganuary; a charity that aims to encourage people to try veganism for the month of January. This was only their fourth year running but they saw their campaign grow by a whopping 260% this year, with almost 60000 sign ups, compared to 23000 in 2016, 12000 in 2015 and only 3000 in 2014. Of course the big difference in the amount of people signing up in 2014 compared to 2015 is without a doubt mainly to it being a brand new charity and campaign, but it is also pretty hard to ignore that the amount of people signing up is due to something greater than just a campaign’s publicity: more and more people are becoming aware of veganism, and have either been inspired to go vegan, or at least reduce the amount of animal products they consume, and that is clearly reflected on the amount of people signing up each year.
Different chains have also seen an increase in sells after launching vegan options. One big example was the opening of a temporary pop up from Pret A Manger in the summer, called Veggie Pret. Unlike all of their other shops, this one only sells vegetarian and vegan products. As mentioned, this was to be for a month only, and they expected their sales to drop. However, the response they received not only from vegetarians and vegans, but also from meat eaters was overwhelming, that they decided to keep it open for the rest of the summer, and ultimately, to keep it open permanently. After months of talks about a new branch, one recentlyopened in Shoreditch. Zizzi’s has also said that during the month of January 2017, they had an increase of 150% in sales from their vegan menu, which was in special offer for those taking part in Veganuary. Because of this, last March they added even more vegan options to the menu, including a sticky chocolate & praline torte. Another chain that took part in Veganuary was All Bar One, who launched a vegan menu and was only to be available for the month of January, but due to high demand, it has been extended for an extra month, and all we can hope for, is that they follow the steps of Veggie Pret and make it permanent, because drunk and hungry vegans are around all year long, and it would be nice to be able to enjoy a few drinks with friends, family and colleagues with other than a side or two.
Finding vegan food on the go, such as sandwiches has perhaps been of the things supermarkets have been lacking in, as most veggie options available would either contain eggs and diary, or both! Some places do offer some vegan options, all which seem to revolve around falafel. And whilst I’m sure that many vegans and meat eaters alike love falafels, it can be sickening after a while when that’s the only option you can find. But fear not! Mark and Spencer finally listened to the cries of vegans, and last year announced that they would be launching some vegan options to enjoy on the go, which include not one, but two vegan sandwiches, and NO falafel in them. Pret A Manger also keeps adding more and more products, with the introduction of two new vegan items at the beginning of the year.
With the introduction of vegan options in restaurants, supermarkets launching more and more vegan products, the word “vegan” being searched on Google more than ever before, and the vegan community growing at a faster speed than it has in the past, an essay about all the new exciting vegan products and places available could be written, but I’m sure you don’t wanna spend hours reading our blog. But with all that said, while we can all (hopefully) agree that veganism cannot be ignored any longer, 2017 is perhaps unlikely the year of veganism, and unfortunately, realistically speaking, it might not be any time soon. Statistics show that meat eating will only increase, due to a decline in prices in developing countries, and whilst veganism might be growing faster than ever before, it will need far more attention and far more people will need to be educated as to why it is so important. However, it can’t be denied that this movement will just keep growing and growing and it can’t be stopped.