McDonald’s has made a splash on social-media recently by trialling its first vegan burger, the McVegan. The initial results are “very promising” a spokeswoman told the BBC, and the product could be rolled out nationwide – albeit in Finland.
Still, the trial is part of a growing trend for food and drink producers and retailers to test the waters with vegetarian and vegan products.
Pizza Hut is trialling a vegan cheese pizza in five branches from the 11th October to the 26th November, whilst Ben and Jerry’s has made a more permanent addition to its roster, launching three new flavours of vegan ice-cream. In the beverage market, Baileys has brought out vegan-friendly almond milk liquor.
“It seems producers and retailers are beginning to recognise the fast growing market for meat and dairy-free products,” said Joe Hutson, consumer analyst at digital media company GlobalData.
Hutson cited research showing that over half a million vegans reside in Britain (nearly three and a half times as many as estimated in 2006) with the number of vegetarians at 2% of the population.
More than half of UK adults are now adopting vegan-buying behaviours, according to the Vegan Society. Their research, published earlier this month, showed that 19% of consumers have cut down on the amount of meat they buy, whilst 13% now choose meat- or dairy-free options from the menu when eating out.