The rise of vegan and vegetarianism

Credit: Kirsten Colligan

Chloe Hooper

Is Glasgow is accepting the vegan lifestyle into its culture?

As we see an increasing number of consumers give up meat, it has lead to a dynamic change in the food industry. According to The Vegan Society, the number of vegans in Great Britain has quadrupled between 2014 and 2018. As a result from this increase in demand for veggie alternatives, a number of supermarkets and restaurants have started to accommodate plant-based eaters. Within Glasgow University itself, the Queen Margaret Union Bistro has decided to increase their vegan options this year including a vegan mac and cheese, superfood salad and a beyond meat burger with garlic mayo. 

On the high street we also see more chains adapting to appeal to vegetarian and vegan consumers. Just as Greggs unrolled their vegan sausage roll earlier this year, Subway has now added a new “vegan signature loaded wrap” to their menu. KFC also appear to be looking to expand to accommodate vegetarian consumers. Following consumer trends, it’s no surprise that so many food chains are appealing to this new market. In a study conducted by The British Takeaway Campaign, orders for vegan meals increased by 388% from 2016 to 2018 with an increase in orders for vegetarian meals having risen by 136%. In 2018 Just Eat named veganism one of its biggest consumer trends for that year.

Earlier this year, KFC on Sauchiehall Street was spotted looking for taste testers for a new vegetarian burger. In addition to this KFC has also launched their “Imposter burger” for a four-week trial period across limited UK stores. 

As we see more fast food chains follow this trend, it has sparked debate on whether or not vegetarians and vegans should support food chains which prove vegan options but cater primarily to meat eaters. While some within the vegan community support this change from fast food chains and the increase of vegan food options, there are a number of other vegan supporters who argue differently, saying that by supporting KFC’s vegan options, consumers are still supporting KFC, a brand who profit from animal cruelty. 

Glasgow, however, has no shortage of plant-based offerings, as there are a number of vegan friendly and cruelty-free eateries across the city’s west end and the city centre. Much of the vegan food in Glasgow can be attributed to Craig Tannock’s impact with his venues, which include Mono Café Bar, Stereo, The Flying Duck, The 78 Bar and Kitchen and The Old Hairdressers. 

It is not just Tannock’s vegan kingdom that holds Glasgow up to this reputation. Across the years we have seen more and more vegan and vegetarian eateries pop up across Glasgow. In the heart of the city we have The Glasvegan and Picnic, and closer to the University itself we have The V&V, Serenity Now, and Tchai-Ovna House of Tea.  

As vegan and vegetarian diets increase in popularity the cultural aspects of choosing a more restrictive diet change as the food industry does. It is now getting easier to be vegan or vegetarian, in one way the rise in popularity for these diets and the rise in vegan food production fuel each other. Being vegan is less restrictive now than it has ever been.


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