A quarter of a million – that’s how many people took part in this year’s veganism awareness month, Veganuary, back in January. It’s a record-breaking amount – 168, 542 people participated in 2018, in comparison. Half say they will remain vegan and, for the first time, health was a major motivator1.
And who would blame them? In recent years, research has hailed plant-based living the secret weapon in avoiding diabetes2, reducing blood pressure3, alleviating inflammation4 and even improving weight loss. Indeed, a study published in the journal Nutrients5,6 revealed vegan meals keep you feeling fuller, for longer, than non-vegan alternatives.
The nation’s love affair with all things vegan hasn’t gone unnoticed. With 7% of the UK population (or 3.5 million people)7,8 now classing themselves as vegan, it’s perhaps unsurprising that plant-based ingredients are being celebrated in new product launches. Sixteen per cent of food products, for example, released in the UK, in 2018, were vegan9 (making Britain the world leader in the field), while leading beauty brands, including Clarins and Weleda, have also been busy creating vegan alternatives of their cult skincare.
So, what does the face of veganism look like today – and how will this fast-paced industry change over the next six months? Keep reading for the seven vegan wellness trends worth your attention, right now.
Vegan Wellness Trend #1
Opt for vegan alternatives of your favourite foods
Following hot on the heels of successful independent vegan food brands such as Nibble and Vegable, high street favourites are adding vegan offerings to their ranges. From this month, head to Tesco and you’ll be able to purchase vegan sausage rolls, made from sage-and-onion seasoned soy; Pizza Express is releasing an egg-free version of its staple house dressing; Quorn has created a vegan ‘bleeding’ burger, containing beetroot juice; and diners at Wagamama will soon be able to order an egg-topped bowl of BBQ glazed seitan and sticky rice (the egg made using miso-infused coconut and Sriracha Mayo).
Vegan Wellness Trend #2
Choose animal-free skincare
When was the last time you checked the ingredients in your favourite cleanser or moisturiser? But many skincare products contain lanolin, a wax derived from sheep’s wool; egg; and honey. Enter market leaders, Weleda and Clarins, who, to meet the needs of their vegan customers, have replaced non-vegan ingredients with shea, coconut butter and fig extract, in certain items; while global cosmetics retailer Lush, last month, pledged to remove egg from its entire product range, replacing it with linseed and aquafaba.
Vegan Wellness Trend #3
Invest in plant-based activewear
Chances are you’ve already heard of the benefits of bamboo-based clothing; it’s absorbent, requires no pesticides to grow and is both durable and soft. But, taking your vegan workout wear up a notch is British plant-based company Carrot Banana Peach. As well as using bamboo in its collection of tank tops, leggings and yoga bras, it also sources sustainable fibres from banana, soybean and aloe vera.
And, stepping up to the vegan footwear challenge is Reebok with their ‘Cotton + Corn’ range of bio-based shoes. Unlike other brands who have been using plastic waste to remodel the standard sneaker, Reebok is busy creating something that will be compostable after use. This first attempt – which is sustainable, although not yet biodegradable – uses materials derived from corn. The signature leather heel patch has been replaced with one made from cotton, making this the first ever 75% USDA certified bio-based shoe.
Vegan Wellness Trend #4
Cool down with vegan ice cream
If the Easter weekend was anything to go by, we should be hoping for a long hot summer. Which means? A need for a cooling snack. Fortunately, just like milk, the days of dairy-only ice cream are gone, with global sales of the vegan stuff expected to surpass $1 billion (around £800 million) within the next five years. Many of these are made using coconut milk or avocado as a base – so, not only are they a match in terms of creamy consistency, they provide nutritional benefits. Hotel Chocolate, following on from the popularity of its vegan Christmas and Easter collections, will be unveiling vegan chocolate-covered ice lollies this summer, and Mr Whippy fans sit tight; sightings of a vegan equivalent in New Zealand have been reported – it won’t be long until UK vans cotton on…
Vegan Wellness Trend #5
Indulge in 'Vine Dining'
If you’re one of the 9% of British diners who would like to see more vegan options on the menu, or one of the 39% who feel vegan meals are boring10, it’s time you tried ‘Vine Dining’, aka vegan fine dining. Lauren Lovatt, founder of The Plant Hub and Academy in London predicts plant-based molecular gastronomy is on the up – with the likes of Michelin-starred restaurant Pied a Terre living proof, already offering a vegan tasting menu.
Vegan Wellness Trend #6
(Then learn to do it yourself)
Prefer eating in? Become your own vegan Masterchef, thanks to the rise in plant-based cooking courses: Le Cordon Bleu cookery school in London is launching a three-month plant-based diploma, teaching everything from how to create nut milks to cooking with seaweed and microgreens to making vegan breads and pastries; while The Plant Academy is launching Plant Curriculum Courses, providing information on how to recreate vegan fine dining dishes, at home.
Vegan Wellness Trend #7
Stay safe with vegan contraception
In the heat of the moment, it’s perhaps not something you’d stop to think about; but condoms aren’t always vegan. In fact, many high street brands contain casein, an animal protein, to make them smooth. British brand HANX, however, uses thistle extract to get that silky effect, making them 100% vegan and cruelty free. They’re also made of natural latex so you can compost them (they’ll start to decompose after around three months).
For more information on supporting your vegan health, visit our vegan advice hub.
1Veganuary (2019). Veganuary 2019: The Results Are In!, Veganuary
2BMJ (2018). Plant-based or vegan diet may be best for keeping type 2 diabetes in check, ScienceDaily
3Appleby, P.N., Davey, G.K. and Key, T.J., (2002). Hypertension and blood pressure among meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans in EPIC-Oxford. Public Health Nutrition
4Shah, B. et al (2018). Anti‐Inflammatory Effects of a Vegan Diet Versus the American Heart Association–Recommended Diet in Coronary Artery Disease Trial, Journal of the American Heart Association
5Vegan Life (2019). Research Proves That Vegan Meals Keep You Fuller Than Non-Vegan Food, Vegan Life Magazine
6Springer Science and Business Media (2015). To shed weight, go vegan, ScienceDaily
7Petter, O. (2018). Number of vegans in UK soars to 3.5 million, survey finds, The Independent
8Roberts, C. (2018). Cars against humanity, Compare the Market
9Mintel (2019). UK overtakes Germany as world's leader for vegan food launches, Mintel
10Mintel (2019). UK overtakes Germany as world's leader for vegan food launches, Mintel