In need of some comfort food? There's nothing like vegan fish and chips. Fish and chips are a British staple, but as consumers turn towards healthy, ethical, and environmentally-friendly alternatives to animal products, demand for plant-based seafood is on the rise. According to a customer survey by Sainsbury's, up to 91 percent of British consumers are flexitarian. This means that the majority of Brits are trying to eat more plant-based foods. Last year, Food Navigator reported that flexitarians will make up around half the British population by 2025, while around 25 percent of Brits will be either vegan or vegetarian. Data from Leatherhead Food Research indicates that around 2.3 million Brits are now eating fully meat-free days every week. While health is a common motivator, younger people are more concerned about protecting the environment. More than half of 16 to 35-year-olds ditching meat highlight the environment as a key reason. Research has linked animal agriculture to a number of environmental issues, including high levels of greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation. The Amazon rainforest fires have been linked to beef production as cattle ranchers set fire to the forest to clear land for their herds. Similarly, seafood has been directly linked to the endangerment of marine environments. The Problem With Seafood Food production is increasingly stretched to meet demand; particularly when it comes to animal products. Seafood is no exception. The overfishing of in-demand species has become a major environmental concern. Overfishing is responsible for exhausting around 90 percent of the world\u2019s fish population, according to FAO data. The oceans are critical to the survival of all species and produce more than half of the world\u2019s oxygen. They also absorb carbon dioxide\u201450 times more than our atmosphere. Overfishing severely impacts underwater ecosystems and the overall health of the ocean. Bycatch is also a problem. This is when untargeted animals are unintentionally caught and killed by the fishing industry. The most common way in which fish are caught is trawling. This involves huge nets being dragged along the sea bed, catching anything in their path. Accidental destruction is also caused by abandoned fishing equipment\u2014a phenomenon known as "ghost fishing." Nearly half of marine plastic pollution comes from abandoned fishing gear. The discarded nets can trap\u2014or "ghost fish"\u2014creatures such as whales, dolphins, porpoises, and turtles. \u201cEntanglement in fishing gear is the leading threat for whales and dolphins around the globe \u2014 estimated to cause at least 300,000 deaths per year,\u201d explains the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) on its website. Fishing doesn't just come with environmental problems. There are also ethical issues, including human rights violations (such as slave labor) and animal welfare concerns. Fish and Animal Welfare Marine animals are frequently killed by the change in pressure as they are raised from deep water, or are crushed by the weight of other animals. Suffocation by air, along with evisceration during processing, are the most common causes of death. Whether fish experience suffering is much contested. But according to many members of the scientific community, fish definitively do feel pain. According to the biologist Lynn Sneddon, this concept is also beginning to achieve more universal acceptance. Sneddon told the Smithsonian Magazine, \u201cBack in 2003, when I gave talks, I would ask, \u2018who believes fish can feel pain?\u2019 Just one or two hands would go up. Now you ask the room and pretty much everyone puts their hands up.\u201d The fact that fish biology is radically different from that of humans and other mammals does not preclude their ability to suffer. Some argue that trivializing the suffering of fish does not take into account the ability of biologically different animals to share experiences. In 2013, the American Veterinary Medical Association released its new guidelines for the euthanasia of animals. The updated guide said: "Suggestions that finfish responses to pain merely represent simple reflexes have been refuted." "The preponderance of accumulated evidence supports the position that finfish should be accorded the same considerations as terrestrial vertebrates in regard to relief from pain," said the guidelines. Vegan Seafood Marine biologist and oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle has suggested that vegan seafood is a practical alternative to unsustainable animal products. At the 2018 Good Food Conference, Earle suggested that better education and vegan seafood, in particular, are \u201cwhat we really need for food security.\u201d Vegan seafood includes everything from simple, whole foods substitutions\u2014such as battered tofu as cod or chickpeas, lemon, and nori as a plant-based tuna fish\u2014to high tech clean-meat production. Clean-meat companies such as the Californian start-up BlueNalu aim to overhaul seafood production with "cellular aquaculture." BlueNalu is working to produce slaughter-free seafood, alongside similar companies such as Finless Foods. In contrast, companies such as Quorn, VBites, New Wave Foods, Ocean Hugger, and Good Catch Foods produce plant-based seafood alternatives from existing products such as soya, mycoprotein, and algae. Good Catch co-founders Chris Kerr and Eric Schnell say in a joint statement: \u201cThe relentless and indiscriminate killing of marine life is devastating ocean ecosystems." The company says \u201cthe only truly sustainable seafood is seafood that allows fish to remain in the ocean." The Best Restaurants for Vegan Fish and Chips These are some of the best restaurants for vegan fish and chips and fried comfort food. 1. Matter Fastfoods Bristol's very own vegan tofish and chip shop may have closed, but Matter still do pop-up events serving fried vegan junk. Matter Fastfoods has cooked up steaks, chicken, kebabs, wraps, and other plant-based takes on classic dishes. 2. Sutton and Sons "Our signature recipe is made from banana blossom that\u2019s been marinated in seaweed and samphire," says the London based Sutton and Sons. "The innovative menu available at all three of our branches includes \u2018prawn\u2019 cocktail, \u2018scampi\u2019, \u2018chicken\u2019 and \u2018fish\u2019 burgers, battered sausages and vegan pie and mash." 3. Earth and Stars Brighton Earth and Stars in Brighton serves smoked tofu in place of fish. The meal is gluten-free and served with vegan tartar sauce, pea pur\u00e9e, and fresh samphire. The restaurant has also served a vegan doner kebab with shiitake mushroom bacon. 4. The Seabreeze Teeside's local favorite The Seabreeze has added battered banana-blossom fish to the menu. The chippy switched to cooking in vegetable oil and have a separate fryer for gluten-free options. The Seabreeze also sells chia seed and rice nuggets. 5. Loving Hut Vegan restaurant Loving Hut serves vegan fish and chips at both its Archway and Brighton Lanes branches. It also serves battered sausage, an "ocean burger," and other classic chippy tea staples. Loving Hut won VegFest's Best Vegan Restaurant award in 2015. 6. Mono Glasgow's Mono makes "tofish"\u2014tofu wrapped in seaweed then battered and fried. The seaweed gives it a savory seafood-like quality. Served with chunky chips and mushy peas. Mono also offers celeriac schnitzel, corndogs, burgers, and other vegan junk. 7. Hungry Horse The UK pub chain Hungry Horse launched a variety of new vegan options in 2018, including vegan fish and chips. The plant-based fish uses fish-free flakes from VBites and is served with mushy peas and crispy chips. The pub also serves a hot Bakewell tart and vegan ice cream. 8. Lucy's Fish and Chips Lucy's Fish and Chips is a Norwich market staple and added vegan fish in early 2019. The "Vish" is made using seaweed and lemon marinated banana blossom. Other plant-based menu items include battered vegan fish steaks made using fish-scented konjac. The chippy stall also sells battered, meat-free sausages and tofu burgers. 9. The Veggie Chippy Birmingham's own Veggie Chippy serves vegan versions of several popular British comfort foods. These include battered "vish," pasties, chips, curry sauce, and mushy peas. The Veggie Chippy also serves battered sausages, burgers, pizzas, and other side dishes. 10. Land & Sea The Land & Sea in Falkirk has a large, separate vegan menu. The traditional chippy sells plant-based prawns, battered "vish," sausages, chicken, deep-fried pizzas, and even haggis. The Land & Sea also serves vegan sides and desserts and hosts regular vegan nights. 11. Simpsons Fish and Chips This South West-based chippy serves vegan options in Stroud. The Simpsons menu includes vegan tofish made using seawater, lemongrass, and seaweed. Deep-fried pickles, battered jalapenos, pea fritters, burgers, and cheese and potato patties are also available. The Best Recipes for Vegan Fish and Chips 1. Shallow-Fried 'Flaky' Tofu Fish and Chips All you need to make these flaky vegan fillets is tofu, sea salt, nori sprinkles, sunflower oil, and a lemon. Batter and serve with lemon wedges, a dash of vinegar, and a sprinkle of salt. Get the recipe here. 2. Oven-Fried Tofu Fish and Sweet Potato Chips If you fancy fish and chips, but not the deep-fried, greasy element of the dish, try this recipe for oven-fried tofu fish. You could even serve with healthy baked sweet potato fries. Get the recipe here. 3.\u00a0 Beer Battered\u00a0Hearts of Palm Fish Sticks Shred hearts of palm, dip them in a tasty beer batter, and serve with vegan tartar sauce. Delicious. Get the recipe here. 4. Tofu Fish in Panko Breadcrumbs With Vegan Tartar Sauce Not a fan of batter? This tofu fish recipe calls for panko breadcrumbs instead. If you're a fan of vegan tartar sauce, make your own using vegan mayonnaise as a base. Get the recipe here. 5. Kombucha 'Tofish' and Chips This unique vegan fish and chips recipe uses kombucha in the batter. According to The Ginger Vegan, it gives the fillets an "extra zing." Get the recipe here. 6. Banana Blossom Fish and Chips According to the Edgy Veg, this recipe is pretty close to what you would get from a real fish and chip shop. It's all down to the texture of the banana blossom when it's deep-fried. For an even more authentic experience, serve with lemon, vinegar, salt, vegan tartar sauce, and mushy peas. Get the recipe here. 7. Deep-Fried Jackfruit with Garlic Dill Mayo and Chips Jackfruit has more uses than a pulled pork substitute, it turns out. Deep-fry it, batter it, and serve with chips and homemade vegan garlic dill mayo. You won't be disappointed. Get the recipe here. 8. Beer-Battered Eggplant and Chips If you like to stick to veggies when you're making meat substitutes, you'll be pleased with this recipe. Instead of tofu, the dish calls for eggplant. Get the recipe here. 9. Vegan Fish Finger Sandwich Not in the mood for a large fish and chip dinner? Make this fish finger sandwich for dinner instead. If you're feeling it, you could add some chips into the mix too. Get the recipe here. 10. Vegan Chip Shop Sausages A chip shop experience is not complete without a battered sausage. If you're making battered vegan fish, batter a sausage while you're at it. You can use any vegan sausage you like, but this recipe uses Heck's Bollywood Bangers for extra spice. Get the recipe here. 11. Easy Vegan Fish Cakes In the mood for something a little lighter? Try these easy vegan fish cakes. Serve with traditional chips and mushy peas, or opt for a salad if you're only feeling a little bit peckish. Get the recipe here.