We’ve seen a big rise in the popularity of vegan food over the last year. Some estimates suggest that as many of 16 million people in the US call themselves vegan or vegetarian. And the market is growing. But it’s not just vegans and vegetarians who are interested in vegan food. It seems like everybody wants a piece of the action. According to FoodNavigator, practically every segment of the alternative food market is booming. Take the milk alternatives market. Go to any supermarket UHT milk section, and it soon becomes clear that good old-fashioned cow’s milk no longer dominates. 36 percent of consumers say they prefer milk alternatives. And that’s not surprising, given the choice. You can get milk made from soy, rice, almonds, hazelnuts and even oats. We also see the fall in meat consumption and the use of alternatives. In the last year, 26 percent of Americans said they ate less meat than the year before. And that number could be as high as 41 percent.
Right now there are many exciting businesses looking to capitalize on vegan food’s newfound success. So what’s out there?
We’ve all heard about Dunkin’ Donuts. But some American’s are getting a little turned off the brand. They want something a little healthier and a bit more ethical. Here’s where Mighty-o-Donuts has made a name for itself. The donut shop is actually rather quiet about the fact that its donuts don’t contain any milk or eggs. That fact is relegated to a footnote on its website. But the truth is that this is a vegan food company that still hasn’t come out of its shell. The company also promotes the fact that its toppings don’t contain any artificial nasties. That means no additives, dyes or colors.
It should come as no surprise that the company is based in Seattle. The Pacific Northwest has a thriving vegan community that stretches all the way to Portland.
One of the biggest obstacles to becoming vegan is the absence of home comforts. How the heck is a vegan supposed to enjoy a proper cooked breakfast? It was once seen as something that was impossible. But thanks to The Vegg, it’s impossible no longer. The Vegg has found a way to make all our favorite egg dishes, but without the use of real eggs. The company uses an egg substitute to make omelets and sandwiches. And according to its patrons, it works pretty well. Their scrambled egg is, apparently, something quite extraordinary. It’s made from soy and nutritional yeast, combining to give the texture and flavor of eggs. If you go to Oh She Glows website, you can find a similar, tofu-based recipe for scrambled eggs.
Artisanal Vegan Cheeses
According to science, people love cheese. In fact, according to people, people love cheese. And cheese is the Achilles heel of many a wannabe vegan. Cheese is like opium in the brain. It’s great at prodding our pleasure centers and making us feel happy. And that’s why it’s so hard to give up. But now a vegan startup is looking to change all this. Dr. Cow is a company that makes artisanal vegan cheeses. How I hear you ask? Well, it turns out that milk curd isn’t the only fatty, edible substance suitable for making cheese. So too are nuts. Believe it or not, you can make all sorts of different cheese out of nuts. And they taste nothing like the generic vegan cheese you find in the supermarket. These cheeses really are worth your while. Dr. Cow has been experimenting with all sorts of different nuts to get different cheeses. It turns out that cashew nuts make cheese that’s a bit like mozzarella. And almonds can be formed into something that’s akin to Wensleydale. You have to try it to believe it.
Notice here that I said “mayo” and not mayonnaise. The distinction was made clear in Business Insider news about Hampton Creek this week. The FDA took issue with Hampton Creek for their branding “Just Mayo,” because their mayonnaise doesn’t contain any eggs. It’s clear what’s going on here. The regular egg-mayonnaise industry doesn’t want to face competition from vegan alternatives. And so they’re complaining to the FDA and trying to get them to ban the competition.
But vegan “mayo” isn’t going anywhere any time soon. The FDA said that they would accept Hampton Creek’s name after all. In recent years, we’ve seen an explosion in the popularity of healthier condiments. And egg-free mayo is perhaps the best development we’ve seen so far. Egg-free mayo is made by mixing canola oil with pea protein. The result is a bouncy white substance that is uncannily similar to regular mayo. Of course, this Mayo has many health benefits, not least that it’s low in saturated fat.
Wine’s vegan already right? Wrong. Often animal products are used in the production of wine. And so some vegans don’t feel comfortable drinking it. That’s what led a family-owned winery, Clos LaChance Winery, in California to make vegan wines. Their wines are animal free. And they have quite a few on offer. You can pick up a Cabernet Sauvignon from 2012, or a 2013 Chardonnay. And they haven’t forgotten about food either. If you go to The Vegan Wine website, you’ll find plant-based recipes designed to complement the wine.
Vegan Burger Bar
Perhaps the biggest news story of the year so far is the fact that you can get a vegan burger that actually looks and tastes like a regular burger. The burger even bleeds. It’s all been made possible by Beyond Meat, Beyond Burger. In May they launched their new burger bar in a Whole Foods store in Colorado. And according to the patrons, it’s amazing.
What’s more, if you want to wash your burger down with a milkshake, at the Beyond Meat burger bar, you can. Of course, you can find all the usual side dish fare, like French fries. And what’s more, they’re all home cut. A burger will set you back a mere $8.99. Doubles are $10.99.