Brands in the UK should ensure their vegan food products remain healthy to consumers, says GlobalData

As veganism becomes increasingly available in mainstream retail, consumers’ attention inevitably shifts towards how healthy a vegan product is. Brands should address this by reducing sugar and salt levels in processed vegan food, removing allergens and adding ingredients beneficial for the vegan diet, says GlobalData, the data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s 2018 Q3 survey found that 3% of consumers in the UK were describing their daily diet as vegan, a moderate figure, but still bigger than the global 2%.

Aleksandrina Yotova, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Growth in the vegan food sector comes mostly from the rise of the number of flexitarian consumers willing to stick to a vegan diet for a period of time or a few days each week.

“This has led to more vegan products being released with a number of major brands and private labels launching vegan options to their line-ups. While these products are better for the animal welfare, not all vegan foods are healthier than the standard options and this is noticed by consumers.”

M&S’s new Plant Kitchen vegan range has been reported to feature allergy related warnings, which not only contradict the vegan nature of the range but also suggest a risk for allergy sufferers. Greggs’ newly popular vegan sausage roll has been reported to have more salt than the original and nearly a gram of sugar, which makes its health benefits debatable.

Yotova concludes: “As consumers want vegan products to be healthier alternatives to meat and dairy, the lack of clarity will be off putting for some. Future trends in vegan food will follow the same philosophy that consumers apply to eating in general: eat whole, real foods with as little processing as possible. Vegan food products will need to keep this philosophy central to their product formulations, as many have been doing for decades.”

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