By our technical director, Renata Faldo
23rd November 2020
EDME has never made any animal-based products. We’ve only ever dealt in plant-based ingredients. That begs the question: what’s the point in accreditation from the Vegan Society? Surely people know that grains, pulses and seeds have nothing to do with animals?
The thing is, it’s not as straight-forward as that. There are many products on the market you’d buy with the expectation that they’re meat-free, but then it turns out that they contain some animal-derived ingredient. Gelatine is a good example. It’s made from collagen taken from animal body parts and is found in a wide variety of desserts, sweets and pastries. It’s also used for making the capsules for paracetamol and other medicines.
What does this mean? Well, there’s an ever-growing interest in ethical sourcing, and in the contents of whatever what we put into our mouths. The number of people who are vegan, or who are making concerted efforts to cut back on meat and meat products continues to rise.
Clearly, as you’ve no doubt noticed when you shop, food manufacturers are keen to shout about their vegan products as being vegan. More and more are using the vegan symbol – and persuading supermarkets to place their goods in the vegan sections in the fridges or on the shelves. The fact there are no hidden (in the small print of the ingredient list) animal-derived ingredients is a selling point for them.
As a supplier into the food industry, we need to support that requirement. Not just by telling them our products are meat and dairy free, but by gaining independent accreditation to prove it.
We are proud of our certification from The Vegan Society and will add it to our many quality and compliance certificates to demonstrate our commitment to the highest standards, best practice, and relevance to the market.
So, what has vegan looked like in 2020?
Hitting the ground running in January with a record 400,000 sign-ups to Veganuary1, the forecast of another year with further growth in veganism was off to a strong start.
Fast forward a couple of months to the first lockdown, and a survey of nearly 4,000 adults by the Vegan Society found that one in five (20%) Britons reduced their meat intake during the pandemic2.
Some of this was driven by availability – people finding their usual choice of foods to be absent from the shelves and having to find alternatives. Almond milk, soya milk and meat replacements were cited by many as products they’d tried during lockdown. Research also shows that increased concerns for wellbeing, the environment and animals was an important factor in changing food-shopping habits.
The Vegan Society says, “1 in 5 Brits said they were fans of the new alternatives they’ve tried and have committed to continue buying them in the future. Half of those who have tried vegan meat alternatives such as vegan burgers and sausages have said they will keep on purchasing them after the COVID-19 lockdown.”