The vegan food revolution sweeping the UK has received a further boost as the largest own-brand supermarket range of 100% plant-based meals went on sale in 600 Tesco stores.
From crispy carrot pastrami to sourdough pizza, the Wicked Kitchen range includes 18 vegan-friendly ready meals along with wraps, sandwiches and salads.
With Veganuary – a pledge not to eat animal products during January – under way, supermarkets and restaurants across the UK are fleshing out their vegan credentials amid signs that plant-based eating is becoming a mainstream movement.
The Tesco range has been masterminded by the American chef and self-proclaimed “plant pusher” Derek Sarno, a former global executive chef for Whole Foods Market, who was hired by Tesco last year as its director of plant-based innovation.
“When I first arrived in Britain from America I was hugely surprised at how little choice there was for vegans and those considering a lifestyle change,” said Sarno, a Veganuary 2018 ambassador. “The only thing I could find was a falafel wrap. For too long vegans have been overlooked, with many offerings that are available seemingly created to appease rather than truly please. Wicked Kitchen plans to change all that.”
One of the most striking food trends of 2017 was flexitarianism, with one in three people saying they were trying to reduce their meat intake. According to the Vegan Society, more than half of UK adults are adopting “vegan-buying behaviour”, and the number of full-time vegans in the UK has grown fourfold in the past 10 years.
This month, the online grocer Ocado has added a further 90 products to its dedicated vegan site. Restaurants are bolstering their vegan menus, with chains such as Pizza Express and Pizza Hut offering vegan-friendly cheese – the former having recently added a vegan giardiniera to its menu. Last week, Pret a Manger introduced a range of vegan pots with “toppers” of fresh herbs and vegetables that can be stirred into the main dish.
For other consumers seeking healthier choices at the start of the year, supermarket Waitrose is trialling a personal nutritionist service that aims to provide customers with dietary advice tailored specifically to their individual needs. From Monday, customers at its Canary Wharf and Kingston-upon-Thames stores will be able to book personal consultations with qualified nutritionists.
Waitrose is charging £95 for the package, which includes a health questionnaire, private consultation, a personalised diet and lifestyle plan, as well as a starter pack of healthy food and recipes.
Moira Howie, Waitrose’s nutrition manager, said: “We know health is top of the agenda for many people as they embark on new year resolutions. We’re committed to helping customers make healthy choices to achieve their individual goals.”