Vegan business is booming. That was the message coming out of Westminster yesterday when The Vegan Society hosted a Parliamentary reception to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its Vegan Trademark.
MPs, their researchers and advisers heard of the rapid growth of the vegan market and the wide ranging benefits it brings, not least to the UK economy. Their response was one of unequivocal agreement.
Christina Rees MP, who sponsored the event, said: “Now is the time to support and invest in vegan business, the growth of which is better for our health and the future of our planet.
“This is also a huge opportunity for our economy. The vegan market is experiencing exponential growth, much of it through UK-based manufacturers including successful start-ups and thriving small-to-medium sized enterprises. This ought to be encouraged through initiatives and policy, which will also improve public health and tackle climate change.
“Vegan food is also one of the most inclusive diets, suitable for almost anyone including those with food intolerances or allergies, regardless of religious belief. It is abundantly clear that vegan business can benefit us all.”
Success stories were shared with talks from leading figures in the industry. Alpro’s Sue Garfitt detailed the company’s meteoric rise in the non-dairy sector, announcing growth of 28% year-on-year – unprecedented in this economic climate. Garfitt also revealed the next product they could bring to market: cashew milk.
Lush’s Hilary Jones regaled guests with a fascinating history of the company and the importance it places on ethics. She paid tribute to the Vegan Trademark as integral to Lush’s business, while also emphasising the value of the under-acknowledged “vegan pound”.
Jasmijn de Boo, CEO of The Vegan Society, said: “This was another significant World Vegan Month event. The fantastic response from MPs and their staff gives us great encouragement that the vegan message is being received and that we are making progress with our campaigning and lobbying work. The excellent turnout was further indication that veganism is being taken seriously and discussed more frequently at a policy level.”
The number of vegans in the UK are likely to have at least doubled in the past nine years, and around 12% of British adults now follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, according to Mintel. Consumer trends also clearly illustrate this growth. Mintel state that 34% of the country purchase meat-free products and that between 2011 and 2013 the non-dairy milk market grew by 155%. The rate for 2015 is expected to be higher still.
De Boo added: “It’s clear vegan products are in high demand. Given their health and environmental benefits and, of course, what they do for animals, we are calling for more support and encouragement to be given to vegan businesses in the UK.”
For manufacturers inspired by these promising trends, whose products are free from all animal use, contact the Trademark department at The Vegan Society – www.vegansociety.com/trademark.