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Veganism goes mainstream as supermarkets cash in on trend



Picture: Deposit Stock Images

Picture: Deposit Stock Images

Picture: Deposit Stock Images

Meat and dairy-free diets have gone so mainstream, that even that bastion of the beefburger, McDonald's, has launched a vegan Happy Meal for children with a pesto goujon wrap now available as an alternative to the usual chicken nuggets and burger meals.

And now it has been joined by the supermarket giants. Marks & Spencer also launched its first large-scale vegan range with options including a vegan coleslaw and potato salad, as well as macaroni cheese and the first vegan-friendly Sourdough Pizza with BBQ Pulled Jackfruit - a relatively unknown fruit in Ireland which has the texture of pulled pork.

Product developer Claire Richardson said: "Some people think meat-free food is dull but this couldn't be further from the truth, it's experimental and it's delicious. We've created a collection that will appeal, whether you're a long-standing vegan, or want to lead a more flexitarian lifestyle." Aldi is promoting a 'Veganuary' range in store from last week and Lidl will be including vegan ice-cream and vegan cheeses in its vegetarian week, starting on February 4.

SuperValu has recently increased its vegan range to 340 products, including vegan chocolates and snacks, and plans to "roll out vegan zones across our store network".

A spokesman said: "We've witnessed the emergence of the health-conscious consumer over the past couple of years, with a surge in momentum during 2018 as veganism became mainstream, shoppers made more informed decisions about the health and nutritional benefits of what they buy, coupled with growing concern for the environment and the sustainability of the food ecosystem.

"We have seen sales of plant-based milk alternatives rise in 2018 with products like oat milk growing rapidly."

While Go Vegan World Ireland acknowledges the health and environmental benefits of a vegan diet, Sandra Higgins, founder of Go Vegan World's Irish branch, argues that to be truly vegan involves regarding animals differently.

She said: "There is no such thing as going vegan for health reasons. People may adopt a plant diet for health reasons but that is not veganism.

"The only reason for going vegan is acceptance of the fact that other animals can feel and, as a result, acknowledging that they share our fundamental right not to be bred, owned, used or killed. Veganism is a moral issue.

"It is not something that can be reduced to a temporary trial to see if it suits.

"How to be vegan is far easier when we understand why we need to be vegan in the first place."

Most people who decided to give Veganuary a try give caring for animals as their number one reason at 43pc, while 39pc say they are doing it for the good of their health and 10pc list environmental concerns.

Emotive Vegan Ad campaign features livestock from Meath sanctuary

Veganism has become impossible to ignore in 2019 with 600 prominent ads across the country urging us to give up meat and dairy - not just for January but for life.

The campaign, which kicked off over Christmas, will run for another two weeks with emotive billboard posters featuring calves being taken from their mothers, pictures of pigs on buses asking to be recognised as "someone not something" and turkeys branded "defenceless" on video ads in train stations. Large-screen video ads promoting veganism were shown for the first time at Busaras and at Connolly and Heuston train stations as part of the Go Vegan World campaign.


SUCCESSFUL: One of the Go Vegan World posters

SUCCESSFUL: One of the Go Vegan World posters

SUCCESSFUL: One of the Go Vegan World posters

All the animals in the ads are Irish and were photographed at Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary, Co Meath, where they are cared for by Sandra Higgins, founder of Go Vegan World's Irish branch.

Ms Higgins said: "The ads challenge the public to see that humans are not the only beings who experience physical and emotional feelings and value their lives. The 'Dairy Takes Babies' ad is one of our most successful. We get regular messages from members of the public informing us that this ad prompted them to research animal rights and go vegan.

"Veganism has gone mainstream and people are much more aware that using other animals is unethical, unacceptable and something to be avoided."

Veganuary, a UK-registered charity, has seen 250,000 people in 193 countries sign up to its online pledge.

Sunday Independent