Food Startup Help features a vegan influencer, Holly Pearce! In this informative blog, Holly talks about different products available to vegan diets, changing trends in the market regarding veganism, its lifestyle, and her new eCookbook!
It’s crazy with a 5-year look back to when I started eating a vegan diet from eating a vegetarian diet. 5-years ago, the first vegan cheese available smelled like rotten socks and there were hardly meat alternatives available in the UK. There were good options for vegan milk, but very few options for any processed products. Every January here there is a huge launch for Veganuary. Every January non-vegans sign up for eating vegan during the month of January just to see if they can do it. So now every Veganuary company introduces new vegan products. For example, this year M&S (Marks & Spencers) introduced 50 new vegan products. I bought a Chicken Kiev you cannot tell that it was vegan! There are now so many options for vegan cheese that it is impossible to know what cheese to want to buy and they’re all pretty much great tasting, good visually, meltable, etc.
Veganizing the Classics. So more businesses are catching onto creating veganizing classic things. For example, according to the BBC the Gregg’s supermarket chain experienced a 13.5% increase in their bakery sales after introducing a vegan version of their classic, meaty sausage roll. Vegans do not necessarily want healthier, vegetable food alternatives because for a majority, that is not driving their decision to eat a vegan, plant based diet.
There are still clear gaps in the market for vegan foods, especially desserts (because producers are mistakenly thinking vegans only eat super restrictive, non-sweet diets). Producers seem to think all vegans are vegan for their health, but I know from my following that many vegans want vegan versions of foods “without the cruelty.” For example, a digestive biscuit (cookie) is a nice, mainstream but non vegan product. Nobody has introduced a vegan version of this classic. Or, while I can find independent, artisan vegan chocolate – there is no mainstreaming of chocolate bars with a kit kat or snickers bar. These are still “missing” on the market. Some food producers are missing a market for sales because they are not making vegan versions of desserts yet – especially biscuits, cake and chocolate if they could be the same price as the non-vegan versions.
Markups on Vegan Foods. Unfortunately, what is available usually has a high markup. Galaxy sells a plain semi sweet bar which is vegan and 3 UK pounds for 100 grams which is much more expensive than a normal Galaxy chocolate bar 1.5 UK pounds for 155 grams. That comes out to 0.03 pence per gram versus 0.01 pence per gram and that is incredibly more expensive for the vegan chocolate.
The current cost for vegans to shop for prepared foods is more than for the general population. You would eat mostly starchy vegetables very cheaply but if you want vegan bacon, vegan cheeses, it can easily be double the price of the family shopping bill. The more prepared foods I buy versus just ingredients, the more the grocery cost increases. For a budget vegan, if you bulk buy vegetables, buy pasta and rice, you can buy products less expensively that are “accidentally” vegan. It is true that vegan milk is cheaper now because it has become more main-stream. But if you are not careful you can easily spend a lot more than you would expect at the supermarket. Also as a group we tend to eat more fruit and fruit costs can add up.
These higher price points drives the competition for more vegan product launches and the quality result rises as well. Beyond Meat is so realistic that my non-vegan parents will happily eat Beyond Meat – It’s pricey and better for the environment, but premium burgers are pricey and not better for the environment. A large number of vegans do want recyclable packaging and reduced packaging, and seems to also add to the prices.
Vegans as a group are more educated and caring about the environment, so they know about landfill and global warming issues.
Instagram Followers. I am lucky because as an influencer I am sent a lot of new vegan products to try. If it’s a paid post or a gift to me – there’s a difference how I share it with my followers. If a brand pays me to post something, I have to take one photo and 3 stories and the brand approves and edits. I would like to do more of that, but I will not use it in any posts and it’s a great advertisement for a company without much cost to them. But most products these days are actually really good quality so I’ve only refused about three – and in that case I’ll just re-gift it.
A Balanced Vegan Diet. I originally converted to vegan for Lent from a vegetarian diet. I did not know what I was doing, and only ate stir frys or simple currys all Lent. In the beginning, I didn’t really research proteins, and vitamins, etc. and I was quite deficient nutritionally. I was vegetarian again for a few months, did more research and became vegan with a B12 supplement.
I was vegan for a year before I started the @VeganLovingLife account on Instagram because I can show people how to eat a really good vegan diet, improve the flavors, and pull it all together. I now realize that there is so much more that needs to go into a successful vegan diet, and although there are more and more high quality prepared foods available – I want to help people cook a diverse range of recipes easily. Being vegan has given me energy, better digestion and feeling healthier. The foods I am eating are very good for me. I do think a balance between foods you cook from scratch and buying processed foods are important. A non-vegan can easily eat only mac and cheese, tater tots and beans – you cannot have a balanced diet any more or less as a non-vegan or vegan. Eating vegan foods is not complex and it’s a great lifestyle.
Order My VeganLovingLife’s Everyday Eats eCookbook! I decided to write a cookbook because I had time and thought it would be a really accessible way for people to see the recipes rather than scroll through a year of photos and my prior Instagram posts. This way as an ebook they’re all in one place and people can see it on their phone while they’re cooking. It means people can eat more vegan cooking from these recipes. I get lots of messages with recipe ideas from my followers, and people ask me for advice and tips for going vegan – what do I need to know. I get my ideas by looking at Instagram for what flavors and foods other people are eating, or I will think of something during the day I want to eat, and plan out the meal.
The Instagram account is a really good way to promote veganism. I have made great connections and friends. We first started to meet up at the annual VegFest – loads of new vegan brands are introduced there, and it is amazing how realistic and flavorful the new vegan products are.
Veganism is a huge movement in the UK.
Order her ebook VeganLovingLife Everyday Eats at linktr.ee/veganlovinglife