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Leading UK supermarket Tesco says it saw an increase in sales across its vegan products, with revenues doubling compared to Veganuary 2021 on some ranges.
New versions of classic dishes were released in time to capitalise on the Veganuary event. A BLT sandwich, Katsu curry and Tiramisu were among the highlights from the vegan range. Tesco has reported a similar result in terms of Dry January, with 30 percent more low or no alcohol drinks sold compared to last year.
The vegan popularity contest
The chilled alternative dairy segment showed the second-most growth, with more than 100 percent over last January. Vegan pasta and soups took the top spot, registering 140 percent more sales than 2021, with cooked meat alternatives up by almost 40 percent. Vegan chilled desserts showed a 40 percent increase as well.
“In the last year we have concentrated on making the best quality plant-based food even more accessible for shoppers by lowering prices,” said Derek Sarno, head of plant-based food innovation for Tesco, about the surge in sales. ““The Wicked Kitchen Meal Deal, which is an amazing offer for folks that want to try plant-based for the first time, launched this Veganuary and is testament to that. The amount of choice these days is mouth-watering and almost every category within supermarkets now has plant-based options, making it easier than ever for those considering or switching to embracing more meat-free days of the week.”
Veganuary’s big numbers
2021 saw the biggest number of sign-ups for Veganuary to date. It registered 580,000 participants, across 209 countries. This year’s official stats are yet to be released but close to 610,000 people are reported to have signed up and the numbers kept rising until the last second.
“It is incredibly exciting to be marking the biggest Veganuary on record with two weeks of January still to go, but it is not surprising,” Tony Vernelli, head of communications for Veganuary said in a statement. “As more people become aware of the incredible impact our food choices have on the health of our planet, attitudes towards eating vegan are changing and so are our diets.”
Wicked Kitchen’s expansion plans
Tesco’s in-house plant-based brand has been on an accelerated growth path since 2020, when it announced an imminent U.S. launch. The overseas expansion was spearheaded in 2021 by then-newly appointed CEO Pete Speranza. The announcement of the move appears to have caused a ripple effect, allowing for global product development and new market entry.
In June last year, a collaboration with Beyond Meat saw Wicked Kitchen’s ready and frozen meals increase significantly, in the U.K. Partnering with a Californian brand strengthened U.S. ties a little more and in July, stateside distribution was set in stone. Following a $14 million Series A funding round, Wicked Kitchen was brought to 2,200 locations across the U.S.
Most recently, Wicked Kitchen has moved into Finland and Estonia, with discussions about Thailand in full swing. The company has predicted growth of 300 percent this year, compared to 2021 sales figures. The Veganuary uptick will contribute to this significantly.
All photos by Wicked Kitchen.