Veganism is the new trend. A UK study indicates that two million people are vegan. 60% of vegans adopted the lifestyle in the last five years and according to research taken by Mintel, the UK is leading in its range of vegan products. Going back just a few years the average menu at a restaurant would only have one or maybe two options for a vegetarian. Now there are whole chains that offer a completely vegan menu. The plant-based market is predicted to increase from £559 million in 2016 to £658 million in 2021.
Businesses in the hospitality industry have been forced to adapt and expand their creativity. Marketing strategies had to accommodate this new and expanding market. All I need to do is walk around the local hospitality venues near our office and all I see is ‘Try Our Vegan Menu’. Fast-food chains, which were previously notorious for their use of animal products, have started to create vegan alternatives, and use them heavily in their advertisement. Burger King’s new ‘The Vegan Royale’ and ‘The Plant-Based Burger’ have started springing up, with a green background and the vegan symbol. The colour and bold advertisement for a chain so normally known for its meat products are effective and eye-catching. It encourages greater audiences to purchase their products and also shows how the brand is adapting and changing with time. Burger King’s biggest competitor McDonald’s is in fact starting to look a bit dated, with their lack of vegan products and their adverts emphasising animal agriculture and consumption.
Wagamama in 2019 claimed to have created ‘The First Vegan Egg’. The concept of creating a vegan egg is nearly impossible. Made with coconut milk, cornflour, miso egg white, and a Sriracha mayo yolk. The intricacy of combining both flavour and appearance is very difficult, so for an Asian cuisine chain to create this option resulted in a lot of buzz and interest. Wagamama is an innovator in the plant-based food sector and has had an entirely standalone plant-based menu for two years now.’ Since chains and restaurants have started creating these interesting and new ways of turning animal-based products into plant-based, it has created a new buzz in the hospitality world. Companies coming up with their own meat-free alternatives such as KFC’s vegan burger, a brand notoriously known for chicken products. Greggs Vegan Sausage roll caused an online stir resulting in celebrities such as Piers Morgan publicly bashing it. However, this only resulted in greater publicity. In fact, the product was so successful that it resulted in, ‘an increase of 13.5% in sales for the supermarket chain since introducing the product to their line last year.’ I even know people that prefer the pig-free roll to the original! This is a clear display of the growing market and the need for brands in the hospitality sector to adapt and grow too. Now restaurants and chains are judged on their availability of different dietary requirements and veganism is a way for these brands to create new and interesting products, just without hurting animals.