There is no doubt that plant-based eating is on the rise, and manufacturers, retailers and restaurants are making and selling vegan fare like never before. To find out which companies are getting it right, Veganuary – the charity that encourages people to try vegan in January – launched the Great Big Vegan Food Survey in May this year, and 6,500 of its participants and supporters responded.
The results of the UK poll showed that the leaders in the vegan field are:
- Zizzi – Best Restaurant
- Tesco – Best Supermarket
- Linda McCartney – Best Brand
The best-rated restaurant by a long way was Zizzi, which polled more than one-third of all votes cast. Its secret? The organic, dairy-free mozzarella-style cheese that saw 8,000 vegan dishes a week sold during Veganuary 2017. And the Italian high-street favourite is unlikely to concede this lead following the recent introduction of a vegan sticky chocolate and praline torte. Since launching this dessert, vegan meal sales have risen to 9,500 a week. The days when vegans can be appeased with fruit salad are long gone.
Best UK supermarket
Tesco topped the list for best UK supermarket, with Sainsbury’s not too far behind. Both chains have in recent months launched a range of own-brand dairy-free cheeses, while Sainsbury’s was the first to create vegan lasagne and mac ‘n’ cheese ready meals. At Tesco, the offerings included a blue cheese, a Wensleydale-style with cranberries, and a grated Mozzarella. At Sainsbury’s, vegans will find caramelised onion cheddar, feta-style, and a garlic and herb soft cheese. Both stores deserve top billing, given they stock a wide range of dairy-free milks, yoghurts, creams and ice creams, as well as vegan sausages, pies and many other plant-based products.
The best-loved brand was Linda McCartney, with Alpro coming a close second. Linda McCartney Foods was one of the first brands to cater for the vegan community, and it is clear their popularity has not diminished over the years.
The secret of its recent success could rest with the company’s staples: the sausages, sausage rolls and Country Pies, or it could be down to the vegan ‘scampi’ bites, shredded hoisin ‘duck’ and pulled ‘chicken’ that are proving so popular.
Retailers are keen to cash in on the vegan pound
‘The days of vegans struggling to find good food on the high street are well and truly over with manufacturers and retailers tripping over themselves to bring out plant-based ranges and cash in on the vegan pound. As a result, we’re seeing a dramatic increase in delicious foods that appeal to vegans, vegetarians and omnivores. Even meat-centric restaurants like Nando’s and Toby Carvery now create a good range of plant-based options, but the crème de la vegan crème are Zizzi, Tesco and Linda McCartney Foods, and we congratulate them for leading the way.’