Supermarket giant Woolworths has reported a significant increase in the sale of vegan foods over the last year, resulting in dozens of new products being added to its shelves.
And the emerging food category is being tipped to expand further in the coming years as more and more Australians look for healthier alternatives.
“We’ve seen a strong increase in demand for vegan products in the past year, and we’re working to create even more choice and variety for our customers,” a Woolworths spokesperson told Canstar Blue.
“In the past 12 months, we’ve added dozens of new products for customers, including dairy free cheeses, ice cream and vegan meals.
“We recently commenced ranging popular products like Tofurky, Sheese, Funky Fields and Follow your Heart.
“Every indication tells us this category will only continue to grow and we’re focused on building a vegan range for our customers that is high quality, convenient and affordable.”
It’s reported that vegan food sales have increased by more than 10 per cent at Woolworths over the last year. The industry is expected to be worth more than $200 million by 2020.
The new vegan food ranges are said to be catering for the sufficient intake of vitamin B12, calcium, iron and zinc, typically found in dairy and meat products.
Coles has also jumped on the vegan bandwagon, offering a number of vegan style meats, as well as dairy substitutes.
From veggie burgers and falafels to coconut yoghurt and dairy free chocolate, you can now find almost any vegan substitute of your favourite foods.
Fast food chains including Domino’s, Hog’s Breath Café and San Churro have extended vegan options on their menus.
Even high-end plant based restaurants are jumping up and attracting those with gluten, dairy and meat intolerance as well.
“It’s getting really, really mainstream and we’re seeing more customers demand it and ask for increased ranges,” a Woolworths spokesperson told 7 News.
What is veganism?
A vegan diet restricts the consumption of meat, seafood, eggs and dairy. It also excludes any animal products, including honey and gelatine.
There are a number of reasons why Aussies dive into a plant-based diet, from improving their health and environmental footprint to excluding all forms of exploitation of animals for food.
As a vegan diet generally entails the consumption of many different vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, beans and wholegrains, which are vital for a healthy diet, it’s claimed to help reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.
Health Direct, a government-funded service, outlines that “a well-planned vegetarian diet that includes a variety of plant-based foods – including those from the five food groups – can meet nutritional needs.
“However, some nutrients may need special attention. A vegan diet requires extra care to ensure your body gets adequate nutrients.”