Groups aim to double UK vegans by year-end

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Twenty-five UK groups have joined forces to form a Super Vegan
Dream Team to promote the vegan diet, say the organisers of a vegan
event in Bristol, buoyed by attention to the animal-product-free
lifestyle in consumer media.

Yaoh Hemp Products, which organises and sponsors the annual Bristol Vegan Fayre, has said that the aim is to double the number of vegans in the UK by the end of the year. The Vegan Society (one of the 'dream team' members) does not give a precise figure for the number of vegans in the UK at present, but says that there are three million vegetarians and vegans in the country, including thousands of Hindus. "A further 3 million people with problems digesting milk; millions more who avoid particular animal products for ethical, health or religious reasons." While Yaoh Hemp's goal may be ambitious, there are certainly indications that more consumers are attracted by vegetarian and non-animal products, and there is a general trend towards food companies adapting their product formulations and ingredients to make them inclusive to such groups. For instance, last week Masterfoods bowed to pressure from vegetarians and agreed not to go ahead with plans to use rennet from calves' stomachs instead of a vegetarian source in their confectionery brands. Although some vegetarian and vegan consumers remain sceptical that big-brand products are truly suitable for them (and Masterfoods' products are certainly not suitable for vegans), such considerations are weighing on the minds of decision-makers. At the same time, businesses must still factor in formulation issues and cost benefits of catering to specialist diets. What is more, products aimed at bridging nutrient gaps in the diets of vegetarians and vegans (such as vitamin B12, which can only be obtained from animal products) present opportunities for specialist food and supplement-makers.

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