Leading UK supermarket chain Waitrose has launched 14 new vegan products, including ready-meals, plant-based fish fingers, and frozen pizza.
The fish-less cakes are made from potatoes, butter beans, and seaweed, and the fish-less fingers are made from breaded tofu. Waitrose is also launching dairy-free tartare sauce to pair with its new vegan seafood products. The fish-less fingers have been a hit with customers since launching last month, boosting sales of vegan and vegetarian products 110 percent in one week.
Other new products include vegan mushroom and lentil meatballs, Asian-inspired greens with tofu, dairy-free beet risotto, vegan mac and mushroom pasta, a jackfruit burger, jackfruit chili sauce, veggie curry, and a barbecue jackfruit pizza on a stone-baked crust. New grab-and-go items include a Vegan MLT Sandwich – mushrooms, lettuce, and tomato – and a tabbouleh salad.
“The growing appetite for meat-free dishes has been reflected throughout the year with rising sales of vegan and vegetarian products, as well as the introduction of exciting and innovative new products to the foodie market,” said Chloe Graves, chilled vegetarian and vegan buyer for Waitrose, in a statement.
“We’re excited to be a part of growing demand for vegan products and lead the way in creating, developing and supplying innovative ranges that delight customers. Our flavour packed products range from complete meals for a quick and easy dinner, to the staple vegan must-haves,” Graves continued.
According to Waitrose, its customers are increasingly interested in plant-based food – searches for “vegan” on the website have doubled over the last year while “vegetarian” searches increased by 67 percent.
Searches for “vegan cake” jumped up 350 percent following the airing of the first-ever vegan episode of the “The Great British Bake Off” last October. Later that month, Waitrose reported that vegan and vegetarian sales were up 85 percent from last year, indicating strong consumer interest.
The UK is the current world leader in vegan product launches, according to data from market research firm Mintel. One in six products launched last year were vegan, boosted by the increased availability of own-brand options from supermarkets such as Waitrose, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s.