With 3.5m people in the UK describing themselves as vegan, is it any surprise that brands such as Zizzi, Pizza Express, Wagamama and numerous others are now toting their own vegan menus? The UK plant-based market is clearly expanding, but how does the rest of the world shape up?
Global data and measurement company, Nielsen (nielsen.com), released figures at the end of 2017 stating that the vegan food industry was worth $3.1 billion in the US alone. Less than 12 months on and Nielsen have already released a new study which reported that the US vegan food market is worth over $3.7 billion. This highlights the clear growth of the industry, and is a sincere support for the claims made by a Forbes (forbes.com) last year, which stated that 2018 was the year businesses need to be veganising themselves.
The strength of the vegan market becomes even more apparent when looking over recent claims made by the Plant Based Food Association (PBSA), which boasts: “Plant-based foods dollar sales are outpacing dollar sales of all retail foods by 10X.” This claim comes from the mere 2 per cent growth found in the sales of all foods, compared to the 20 per cent growth of plant-based foods in 2018. Plant-based milks still remain the top selling vegan food item, accumulating $1.6b in sales (9 per cent growth), however, the market really takes off within the meat and dairy by-product alternative industry. Sales of meat-alternatives have increased by 24 per cent, and diary by-products, such as cheese and yoghurt, have grown by 50 per cent.
Although these increases seem vast, one can understand when noting that now an incredible 80 per cent of millennials in the US alone eat meat alternatives. In addition, 6 per cent of all Americans describe themselves as vegan compared to 1 per cent in 2014 – which amounts to an increase from 3.1m to just under 20m people.
It’s clear that in both the US and the UK the plant-based food industry holds a high monetary value. It will, however, be interesting to see how much this is set to increase as the vegan lifestyle becomes ever more linked with health.
Unfortunately the figure of 3.5 million UK vegans mentioned at the top of this article is most likely a gross exaggeration – and the Vegan Society have themselves more or less dismissed it: “We are pleased to see such an interest in veganism and would be delighted if this increase was the case but realistically, we have no reason to think numbers have increased to that extent.” (See more of their comments at the foot of this Plant Based News article: https://www.plantbasednews.org/post/veganism-skyrockets-to-7-of-uk-population-says-new-survey)
The Society’s survey in 2016 suggested 542,000 UK vegans and this figure has no doubt increased since – maybe approaching the million mark now, but that’s only a guess.