Your quick guide to veganism

Thousands around the world are marking Veganuary this month, and being a vegan has never been easier with a wide range of foods to choose from.

Chocolate-covered banana pops, cookies and ice cream balls… a serving suggestion using Coles’ vegan range.

In January this year some one million people in 192 countries are taking part in a global celebration of all things vegan, known as Veganuary.*

Sioned Read, Senior Category Manager Health Foods at Coles, says many people now consider veganism mainstream. She adds that the growth of the plant-based food sector reflects a growing acceptance of veganism in Australia.

“It’s no longer a niche market,” she says. “Vegan products are not just found in the health food aisles but across the store. Customers now have a wider choice of vegan products available – and they are much tastier than before.”

Vegans do not eat any food derived from animals, as opposed to vegetarians who may consume dairy products or eggs, for example. The strictest vegans do not use or consume any animal products, such as leather. 

While veganism requires a significant change in lifestyle, aspiring vegans will find a wide range of new non-meat products on the shelves of Coles. Vegan options include vegan mayonnaise, almond milk, tofu, vegan “tuna”, cookie dough, chocolate and many plant-based meat substitutes, plus the Coles’ Nature’s Kitchen vegan products. 

Ms Read says the company is continually adding to its already impressive vegan range as new products become available.

“We know that our customers are reacting well to those new vegan products,” she says. 

Rather than the uninspiring nut cutlets and lentil stews of the 1970s, today’s vegan is more likely to be sitting down to vegan lasagne or delicious vegan cheesecake made from Philadelphia substitute. Since many Mediterranean and Asian cuisines make extensive use of vegetables, herbs and pulses, finding a tasty vegan recipe is much easier than many people imagine.

According to data collected from Google Trends, Australia is now one of the most vegan-curious countries in the world, alongside New Zealand, Israel and the United Kingdom.**

The ABC’s Australia Talks National Survey 2019 found just 1% of the nation identifies as vegan.*** Vegan Australia estimates that 2 per cent of the population, or 500,000 Australians, identify as vegans yet the interest in veganism has never been stronger. 

Greg McFarlane, a Vegan Australia director, believes that the shift towards a plant-based diet is evident across all consumer groups but is especially appealing to those in the 18-24 age bracket.

“Younger people throughout history have always been the leaders of social change,” he says.

Explore Coles’ range online, including Nature’s Kitchen, the largest exclusively plant-based range developed by a major Australian supermarket*. It includes award-winning ready meals, voted Best Vegan Ready Meals by the plant-based community in the Nourish Vegan awards 2020. Coles stocks over 1,000 products suitable for vegans.****

Sources: 

*https://veganuary.com

** https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?q=Vegan

***https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-26/vegans-comprise-just-1-per-cent-of-the-population-survey-finds/11635306

**** Based on private label product from an exclusively plant-based range available from 6 online stores in 2 major supermarket chains in the New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia regions between 17th December 2020 and 6th January 2021.