Every November we celebrate World Vegan Day and World Vegan Month, as well as the formation of The Vegan Society.
World Vegan Month is celebrated around the world as a time to recognise how far the vegan movement has come, to highlight how accessible and beneficial a vegan lifestyle can be and to encourage the vegan-curious to adopt veganism by sharing advice, recipes and ideas.
The number of vegans in Britain has risen by more than 360 per cent in the past decade. But they’re not the only ones hungry for meat-free dishes. Recent YouGov research found that more than half of us think meat is not a necessary component of every meal, and many in the restaurant trade are responding by offering a more veg-centric approach.
High street chains such as Asian fusion favourite Wagamama and pub behemoth JD Wetherspoon’s are now offering vegan and vegetarian menus. Even McDonald’s is after a slice of the vegan pie: this month, the franchise announced it is testing out a McVegan burger (available in Finland only, for now).
World Vegan Month, which takes place in November, has encouraged even more restaurants to take up the challenge. Italian restaurant Carluccio’s has just launched its first exclusively vegetarian pop-up: Cucina Verde will take place on #MeatFreeMondays throughout November. It’s set to showcase over 20 Italian veggie and vegan dishes from Antonio Carluccio, created in collaboration with cook and food writer Anna Barnett.
Meanwhile, the autumn menu features newly launched vegetarian and vegan staples (all to be washed down, of course, with vegan wines). Antonio Carluccio’s personal favourite is the orecchiette al cavoflore (cauliflowee purée with kale and chilli).
For Carluccio, the rise in the popularity of plant-based eating is a trend that’s here to stay: “I don’t like something because it’s in fashion. That means it’s going to go away. Vegetarian or vegan food is a question of nourishing the body with something pure and nice. It’s not a question of the fashion, but of taste, variety and requirement.”
Similarly, Anna Barnett sees it as a cultural shift away from the ingrained meat-and-two veg model, rather than merely a trend. “I think everyone is more educated, and more conscious of the environmental impact, as well as the impact on their own health,” she says. “There are so many incredible recipes being shared now using seasonal produce, so you don’t need to feel like you’re missing out with a veg-centred dish.”