Supermarket survey reveals boom in vegan meals

A Waitrose vegan jackfruit pizza. Source: Waitrose
A Waitrose vegan jackfruit pizza. Source: Waitrose

“Posh” crumpets”, pink drinks and vegan ready meals are just a few of the things Brits are eating and drinking most in 2019, according to a supermarket survey.

The latest annual food and drink report from Waitrose shows that sales of vegan ready meals, such as mushroom carbonara and paella, are doing so well that they’ve overtaken their vegetarian counterparts for the first time ever.

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In addition, “seaganism” – a vegan diet but including fish and other sea food – has been gaining a following, the report claims.

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Brits are big on ingredients from the sea this year. Waitrose’s data shows searches for “aonori seaweed” are up 127% online.

Meanwhile, tahini – a condiment made from toasted and ground hulled sesame, and a main ingredient in hummus – has apparently found popularity in its own right. Searches for tahini paste have skyrocketed 700% since 2018.

Shoppers are “going with the grain”, the report’s author said, as sales of amaranth are up by a fifth, while mixed pouches of quinoa, chickpea, bulgur wheat and rice are up by over a third (36%).

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And crumpets have had a “posh makeover”. Thanks to chefs such as Yotam Ottolenghi and Marcus Wareing “inspiring” Brits with toppings like lobster, cockle butter, or cheddar and Marmite, crumpet sales have shot up 26%.

Noodles are also popular at the moment. Searches for soba noodles are up 83%, udon noodles searches are up 50%, and sales of egg noodles have risen 22%.

Britain’s “love affair” with pink gin and rose wine “seems to be expanding” and drink aisles are now “an explosion of pink”, the report’s author said. Rose vermouth and Champagne, and Cocchi Rosa, an Italian aromatised wine, are just some favourites.

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Brits are clearly loving bubbles in 2019, as sales of sparkling wines keep rising. It’s not just Prosecco. “New fizzes” from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are popular, while Cava has made a “resurgence” the report notes.

Meanwhile, a “bumper harvest” in 2018 has led to a boost in sales of English and Welsh wine in 2019.

Thanks to the “craft beer boom”, canned is now preferable to bottled. Canned lager and ready-to-drink cocktails in a tin are “flying off the shelves”.

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Brits are now also DIY-ing their own flavoured spirits by adding their own choice of fruits, herbs or botanicals to plain spirits at home, rather than buying pre-flavoured bottles, the report said.

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