With one in eight Brits now identifying as vegan or vegetarian, the plant-based lifestyle, once dismissed as a passing fad, is now a mainstream trend. And according to research, the vegan market is set to explode in the next couple of years.
But why is veganism becoming so popular? And what opportunities, if any, does this growing market present to UK investors? Let’s find out.
What is veganism?
Veganism, as defined by The Vegan Society, is basically a lifestyle that “seeks to exclude – as far as is possible and practicable – all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose”.
In simpler terms, vegans don’t eat, wear or use anything that comes from animals.
Why has veganism become so popular?
The main driver of veganism’s growing popularity is higher levels of consciousness, particularly among young people, around issues such as animal welfare and rights, climate change, the environment and personal health.
People in the UK and around the world are increasingly placing these issues at the centre of their consumption choices.
In fact, according to Business Expert, the top reasons for going vegan in the UK are:
- Ethics – 34.7%
- Health – 31.7%
- Religion – 19.9%
- Allergies – 11%
- Other – 2.7%
Social media has undoubtedly played a role in making veganism mainstream.
The likes of Instagram and Facebook have very active vegan communities where people (including top vegan influencers with millions of followers) share their beliefs and passions and advocate the vegan lifestyle.
Additionally, vegan options are becoming more common in many restaurants. There’s also a good number of establishments that exclusively cater to the vegan lifestyle.
The ultimate result of these developments is the massive growth of veganism and the market for vegan products.
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Could the vegan market double in five years?
According to Business Expert, the rate at which the vegan market is growing suggests not only that it is now mainstream but also that it could actually replace the traditional diet within the next century.
In the next few years particularly, the vegan market, currently valued at $14.88 billion (£10.54 billion), is set to skyrocket.
Research suggests that by 2026, the vegan market could be worth close to $31 billion (£21.94 billion).
How can investors benefit from the growth in the vegan market?
The growing popularity of veganism and the rise in the value of the vegan market could present a prime opportunity for investors looking to diversify their investment portfolios.
Perhaps the only downside is that there are only a few plant-based businesses currently listed on the UK’s stock market.
One such business that’s worth checking out is Total Produce, a company that provides fresh produce. Currently, it has operations in 39 countries and is listed on the London Stock Exchange AIM market.
There are a couple of other LSE listed companies with a vegan angle (though not exclusively plant-based). Companies that could benefit massively from the growth in the vegan market include:
- Unilever – with its portfolio that includes a couple of notable plant-based offerings.
- Premier Foods – whose plant-based brand Plantastic creates products made with plant ingredients.
- Science in Sport – a sports nutrition brand that makes a range of plant-based protein bars and powders.
The good news is that as the vegan market continues to grow, we are likely to see more plant-based companies emerge.
So with time, you’ll probably have a greater pool of vegan-oriented companies to buy stocks and shares from.
Needless to say, as with all hot and emerging trends, it’s a good idea to consider the risks before you invest.
Even though all indications are that the vegan market will continue to grow, there are no guarantees.
Vegan alternatives for meat and other animal products may be popular right now, but demand could change or slow in the future.
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