When you’re locked down let your tastebuds break out
Welcome to Veganuary 2021
It’s a strange word that sounds like something you need to treat, but it does appear to be here to stay. In fact, the term doesn’t sound half as strange as it did on launch, back in 2014. Who could have predicted that 7 years later Veganuary is something to get excited about, because frankly there is little else!
Watch the latest crop of tv ads and vegan food now look positively mainstream
Once veganism was so niche but now, everyone is looking for something different to compensate for our very dreary lives as people grapple with these latest challenges. All of us need ‘foodie adventures’ where we can escape and explore something different and pretend to be anywhere else but here.
Plant-based chocolate is here
UK-based ingredient distributor Henley Bridge’s managing director Tracey Hughes told FoodIngredientsFirst that plant-based chocolates will also come into the mainstream this year, providing a new way of delivering flavours. Passionfruit, rum and other Caribbean influences look set to be popular. Well, if this is an example of a restrictive vegan diet, then count me in!
Photo: Tijana Drndarski
Veganism is fashionable and consumers are interested in reducing their meat and dairy intake
They are looking for adventurous alternatives that might combat the ‘lockdown lard’ many have been accumulating. We know that this time around Lockdown III will not see comfort food that we crave so much, but something healthier, clean tasting, that will help us invent and develop this ‘new norm.’
Vegan ingredients are a marvellous change
They are likely to feature heavily in shopping baskets through 2021 and beyond. Every supermarket is doing its best to win customers with cheaper ranges too. This is especially true with flavourings improving. During 2020 I wrote about Daring that also won best new products last year. Certainly the whole sector is innovative and exciting and deserves its status. Vegan food producers and manufacturers have demonstrated real creativity and imagination that has captured hearts and minds, even if it is just a Greggs vegan ‘sausage’ roll. Photo Leila Issa
Japanese ingredients that also fulfil the brief are also becoming more evident
Watch out for Kinako (roasted soybean flour), Sakura (cherry blossom flower), Yuzu and Anko (red beans) and Endame beans. If you can’t travel physically then let your taste buds savour exotic flavours.
Does that mean the end of indulgences? Never!
Yet what is really interesting is that although we know we should do things in moderation we are all demanding indulgences with a healthier vibe. You will have seen increasingly more vegan ice creams for example. The early false starts have been consigned to the bin and now technicians understand that soy milk works well with chocolate you’ll need coconut milk for a vanilla confection.
Shows like Bake Off that constantly prompt contestants to discover whackier taste combinations mean we are all up for experimentation. Do not be surprised to discover pear and cardamom or cinnamon and hazelnut amidst your raspberry ripples and Neapolitan ice creams. Photo FOODISM360
Can veganism help us all back into non-stretch fabrics?
Although sales of leisure wear (that is not tailored and without zips or buttons to compromise expanding tummies) are up, plant-based treats may well be the way we combat the bulge. If we can eat something naturally sweet with an element of fibre we will all feel better. Therefore fruits, nuts, spices and honey will all have their day in the sun this year.
If you are on the look-out for a more natural choice, then vegan chocolate continues to improve and develop. Expect to find organic ingredients like vanilla pods and palm oil free coatings and plenty of texture in your treats.
When you consider that Tesco now sells over 10 million vegan products that’s quite a claim and something, we may not have anticipated back in 2014. There are plans for the Wicked Kitchen range that Tesco have championed to go global too. Their founders are passionate about not eating animals and they are proud to see how far their range alone has pushed veganism forward. From Red Velvet Brownies to Spicy Coconut and Rice Noodles, Wicked Purple Rice to Sweet Potato and Beanz Chilli Mac they’ve certainly transformed pick up and go vegan. Actually, I can’t wait to see what happens next. I think we really are on the cusp of a revolution in so many ways during 2021. What do you think? Photo: Alexandra Golovac