Supermarket giant Tesco has launched a vegan version of the popular Scottish dish across the UK in time for Burns Night celebrations on Friday, and Scottish butchers are not happy!
A Burns Night celebration normally involves tucking into Scotlands most famous dish, haggis, but normally this traditional dish is off-limits to vegans thanks to the fact that the ingredients include sheep’s offal and suet encased in intestines.
Thanks to the current vegan food boom sales of a non-meat version of the Scottish delicacy haggis have soared by 120 per cent at Scottish Tesco stores in the last year.
The demand – at Tesco’s Scottish stores – is so strong that the supermarket will now trial the vegan version at stores across England and Wales for the first time, in time for Burns’ Night on Friday Jan 25.
The vegan haggis has been created by the UK’s leading haggis producer, Macsween of Edinburgh, and order to create a meat-free version, the animal products typically used have been replaced with a blend of nuts and vegetables mixed with oats and spices.
However, not everyone is happy about the supermarket adding the vegan-friendly product to its shelves in a bid to be inclusive to the rapidly growing number of consumers seeking out plant-based versions of their favourite foods.
Chief executive at the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders, Douglas Scott, has said that Robert Burns, whom the annual occasion celebrates, would not be pleased with the supermarket changing the recipe to remove traditional elements.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Scott said: “Robert Burns enjoyed haggis so much that he stood up and competed a address to it. If you listen to this, he gives the impression that its going to give you power and strength. That is not the impression you get from the vegan haggis and, I think he would be scoffing at it.
According to Tesco Scottish food buyer, James Lamont: “We’ve never seen anything like the current demand – and it’s not just during Burns’ week, it’s all year round!
“Veggie haggis is a delicious meal in its own right not too dissimilar to a nut roast and we think vegetarians and vegans are buying them as centrepieces for roast dinners.
“The current clamour for vegan and vegetarian food has really helped send sales soaring for the non-meat version of the haggis.”
Macsween’s vegan haggis is also stocked at Co-op, Morrisons, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.