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As more people turn to plant-based food, manufacturers, retailers, and restaurants are becoming increasingly innovative in order to meet demand.
Polling carried out charity Veganuary – which encourages people to try veganism for the month of January – reveals the leaders in the vegan field.
Around 6,500 people took part in the Great Big Vegan Food Survey in May this year – and this is what they said.
Participants voted Zizzi as the best restaurant, Tesco as the best supermarket and Linda McCartney as the best brand for vegans.
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.
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.
Veganuary CEO Simon Winch says: “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.”