One of the common objections to switching to a wholefood plant-based diet, whether entirely or just a day or two a week, is that it takes too long to prepare. This was traditionally the case due to the lack of choice in our supermarkets, but times have now changed. The range of vegan chilled and frozen meals now available is simply enormous compared even to just a couple of years ago. Food manufacturers and suppliers have seen the demand rise substantially for convenient food without meat or dairy and have responded in kind. It is now expected that the total spend on vegan diets alone will be around £7.4bn in 2021.
Innovation in the vegan convenience food sector
There is no doubt that innovation has driven the vegan convenience food sector. Many consumers have been looking for a viable alternative to the foods they are used to but want to eat less of. Many businesses around the world and the UK have invested vast sums in creating plant-based meat and cheese replacement products with the cooking and eating properties of the real thing. Indeed, it is now possible to buy an entire Christmas vegan meal that can be enjoyed by vegans and non-vegans. According to the Grocer, some of the latest plant-based innovations include ‘exotic’ ready meals, frozen smoothie breakfast bowls, and vegan roasting joints, to name but a few.
Frozen vegan convenience food is increasingly in demand
According to Businesswire, innovation is key to gaining a competitive edge in this booming food sector, and they also expect huge growth in the demand for frozen vegan food. Innovative packaging is also ensuring that plant-based foods retain their full complement of nutrients while making it easy to prepare and eat; Businesswire says, “The adoption of quick frozen (IQF) technology that helps produce superior food products and providing products in heat-and-eat containers that allow consumers to cook their products in a short period are some of the other strategies adopted by companies”.
The sheer range of products now available in frozen vegan form is remarkable compared to just two years ago. In our range of frozen vegan products alone, we have buckwheat croissants with walnuts, multigrain croissants with nettle, leek bureks (rather like a pasty with a tasty savoury filling), broccoli and cauliflower vegan burgers, and hot and spicy vegan burgers, to name but a few items. In the case of all of these products, preparation is simply a case of removing the packaging, arranging the item on a baking tray, and popping it into the oven.
Convenience food will always have a place in our homes simply because most people are so busy. Even if we prepare a fresh meal from raw ingredients a few times a week, there are always times when eating a ready prepared meal, whether in chilled or frozen form, is preferable. The innovation in and range of vegan frozen and chilled foods now means we no longer lack choice or variety. So can switching to a vegan diet be convenient? The answer now is a resounding yes!