How can food companies effectively tap into veganism’s popularity in the UK?

May 29, 2019
4 min read

Veganism has transformed from a niche diet to a lifestyle trend, celebrated by celebrities including Beyoncé and JAY Z, who wrote the introduction for the book The Greenprint: Plant- Based Diet, Best Body Better World by Marco Borges:

“We want to challenge you as we challenge ourselves to move towards a more plant-based lifestyle and acknowledge you for standing up for your health and the health of the planet.”

Source: Penguin Random House

The UK’s love of veganism is firmly established, with over a quarter of Brits saying they plan to buy vegan food according to new analysis from Mintel Purchase Intelligence. This figure rises to over a third of consumers aged 18-34.

Younger eaters are especially attracted to veganism’s “feel good factor”, as shown by the verbatims from Purchase Intelligence:

“Product is vegan, which indicates everything in it is natural and likely healthier than other similar products in the market.”
Male, North East/North West, 16-34

“Looks healthy…also makes me feel good about my conscience.”
Female, Scotland 16-34

But simply launching a new vegan product is not going to guarantee sales success. So what are the main factors to understand the new vegan products people want to buy and why?


If you’re launching a new food and drink product and want to know the new products people want to buy and why, then click to find out more about how Mintel Purchase Intelligence can help you.

Veganism is seen as more healthy, but not as tasty

Over half of Brits think that vegan food is healthy, compared to just a third who believe non-vegan food is. However, when it comes to the enjoyment factor, only two-fifths feel that vegan food is tasty, compared to over half who say the same about non-vegan food.

Perception of vegan food vs non-vegan food, UK, Apr 2018 – Apr 2019

Source: Mintel Purchase Intelligence

The rise of the ‘Dirty vegan’ trend

There are growing opportunities for retailers to tap more into the ‘dirty vegan’ trend. ‘Dirty’ or ‘filthy’ vegan food has been trending in the London foodservice and street food scenes, and we expect more retailers to follow the lead of M&S’ Plant Kitchen range by launching more ‘dirty’ vegan options:

An example of a vegan product from M&S’s Plant Kitchen range. Source: M&S

This will help to inject some much needed excitement and indulgence, as a sizeable proportion of UK consumers perceive vegan meals as boring.

Think beyond burgers for vegan innovation

In the innovative US vegan market, three of the top five ‘tastiest’ vegan launches measured by Mintel Purchase Intelligence were chicken substitutes:

However, the UK has not yet made the most of this potential, as less than 10% of meat substitute launches in the UK were ‘chicken’ between April 2018-April 2019.

Vegan foods’ natural credentials need a boost

Veganism’s natural credentials will be more scrutinised. While vegan food has a clear health halo, it’s not perceived to be as natural as it should be, especially by older eaters:

“Vegan stuff always seems to be processed. I prefer to buy foods that are as close to their natural state as possible.”
Female, North East/North West, 35-54

“Contents: red and green peppers 12%. The remaining 88% is additives – wow! Most people (vegan or otherwise) would object strongly to…the huge proportion of stabilisers and other additivies.”
Male, North-East/North West, 55+

Every day Mintel Purchase Intelligence benchmarks consumer reactions to new product launches so manufacturers, companies and brands can immediately understand and analyse what is driving purchase decisions. If you’d like to understand the new products that consumers want to buy and why, then visit: Mintel Purchase intelligence or contact David Jones

Jonny Forsyth
Jonny Forsyth

Jonny Forsyth is Associate Director, Mintel Food & Drink, monitoring and engaging with latest innovations and market developments in all alcohol and coffee categories.

More from Mintel
  • The Meat-free Foods Market in the UK
    Understand how the meat-free industry can benefit from widening its target audience...
    Explore this research
  • Mintel Leap
    Mintel Leap is a revolutionary new AI-powered platform that will transform your research process....
    Book a demo
Subscribe to Mintel Spotlight
Related articles
May 13, 2024
Who wants ice cream? Well, if we look at global ice cream consumption, the answer is: almost everyone! According to Mintel’s consumer research, nine in ten UK consumers enjoyed an…
May 10, 2024
As Indian consumers become increasingly health-conscious, the salty snacks market is undergoing a significant transformation. The traditional reliance on palm oil as a key ingredient in snacks is being questioned.
April 26, 2024
On April 23, 2024, Chicago-based premium convenience stores Foxtrot Market and Dom’s Kitchen & Market permanently and abruptly closed all 35 locations with news of a Chapter 7 filing for…

Download the Latest Market Intelligence