Updated: Mar 15, 2021
Wow, 2020 was a crazy year. I know everyone is saying it, but when you look back at all of the incredible things that have happened, good and bad, it sounds too dramatic even for Hollywood. One positive during the insanity is that more people have ditched animal products and, in response, an increasing number of companies are producing more vegan friendly products, either creating new items or altering the ones that they already have. For example, Cadbury's have made their Bournville chocolate vegan, Flora went completely plant-based, they've since started using buttermilk in some products, but hopefully they'll change their minds on that one. Even McDonalds is releasing a vegan burger.
The SARS-CoV2 virus had a huge effect on how people ate in 2020. Restaurants shut, supermarkets had bare shelves, supply chains all over the world were badly affected with imported items becoming scarce. People also started stock piling staple goods, potatoes, rice, pasta and tinned goods were cleared from the shelves. This made food shopping tricky for vegans as there were no beans, even tofu was gone (we all know about toilet roll). Also gone were meat substitutes, noodles, falafel, there was nothing left. This was great, people weren't eating animals products, but also infuriating.
As countries around the world went into lockdown people were stuck at home trying to provide food for themselves without the use of restaurants or take-aways. Home cooking was the thing to do and baking became a major past time in houses across the country, with flour, yeast and other baking ingredients becoming impossible to find in the shops.
One of the effects of the pandemic was to make people consider their own health as the link between being unhealthy and suffering from severe covid infection became more clear. People took up running, went on diets and shifted away from meat and dairy; the bakery and sweets aisles were fully stocked, while the fruit and vegetables aisles were empty.
"As long as you have pasta and sauce you have a meal. Lentils provide protein because you can't get meat right now."
Field Agent conducted a survey of their users eating habits during lockdown and found that 75% of people were spending more in the supermarkets, with 83% saying that they were cooking more at home. Around 40% of people said that they were buying more rice, pasta and fresh produce, but also, half of the people that responded said that they were eating more in general, so weren't necessarily healthier.
In January 2020 400,350 people signed up to take part in Veganuary, this is an increase of 150,040, 62.6% from the previous year. Deliveroo has seen a 78% increase in sales of vegan take-aways. Pret-A-Manger sells twice as many vegan croissants as non-vegan ones. It will be interesting to see what effect the pandemic has one people's eating habits in 2021 as every year the number of vegans increases. Either way, buckle up, it's going to be bumpy ride.