Market Intelligence

The vegan market and top vegan trends in 2020 – Food & Beverages

12 May 2020|6 MIN READ

Sustainability is fast becoming one of the biggest concerns in the UK, and the impact of farming and livestock is a huge factor in this. As a reaction to the realities of eating and farming meat, many people are going vegan, whether exclusively, or for just a few days a week.

The vegan market sees 77% growth online

Over the last 10 years, the vegan market has expanded and innovated, and coupled with the world's growing concern about human impact on the environment and its ecosystems, in 2020 veganism is everywhere! In fact, a record 400,000 people signed up for veganuary 2020.

Driving this market growth are veggie and vegan brands; some long standing, and some very recently established.

According to our research, search demand for 'Vegan' food has grown 77% when comparing 2017 - 2018 with 2018 - 2019.

This is higher than any other 'Eco conscious' category we have been monitoring, including 'Sustainable retail' (i.e. 'Slow' fashion) and 'Electric vehicles'.

Vegan market: Top vegan brands in search

Vegan market - Vegan food brand growth over three years

The growing number of brands jumping on this trend is broadening the market, as well as encouraging the trend.

What are the top vegan food trends?

Vegan trends: Search volume of vegan terms

Vegan trend growth across food types online in search over three years

(Image Source Pi Datametrics Market Intelligence Platform)

Meat alternatives

If we look at search volume around vegan terms, we can see that ‘Meat alternative’ terms were searched the most in 2019.

In 2018, an estimated £740m was spent on meat-free foods. This number doesn’t even factor in the significant amount of new meat-free / meat alternative products that launched in 2019.

These vegan products were adopted or created by large fast food chains in 2019, and really helped boost the vegan trend in public consciousness.

In fact, the top growing vegan terms in search are almost all product based:

  1. Greggs vegan sausage roll
  2. KFC vegan burger
  3. Beyond burger
  4. Impossible burger
  5. Vegan food near me
  6. Jackfruit

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Dairy alternatives

There’s no escaping the rising milk mania, as every nut under the sun is made into a dairy alternative.

Evidence of this milk hysteria can be seen everywhere, with more deadpan adverts from Oatly, and access to vegan cheese at just about any restaurant you can think of.

According to study by Mintel, 36% said their main reason for switching from dairy products was environmental concerns.

However, despite 27% of millennials claiming they no longer use cow’s milk, plant-based options only accounted for 8% of milk sales in 2018.

In search, ‘Dairy alternative’ terms saw a significant increase of 33% from January 2019 to January 2020 - we expect to see this trend grow even more over 2020.

Look to the search landscape for vegan market opportunities

Aside from the actual vegan product trends we’ve spotted in our search data, we also saw a huge increase in people researching vegan and plant-based diets; looking for the best vegan products and where to buy them.

As we’ve seen above, tracking this growing trend in search can give you an idea of the scope of interest, but analysing search volume alone isn’t enough - digging into the SERP landscape itself can reveal more about what consumers want.

Google Page 1 SERP landscape for ‘Where to buy vegan products’

vegan market landscape across food searches in seo - serp feature appearance

(Image Source Pi's SEO Platform)

If we look at the above SERP Feature landscape for the search query ‘Where to buy vegan products’, we can see that ‘People also ask’ (Pp) appears consistently.

Brands looking to move into the vegan market can scrape 'People also ask' information for consumer research, and optimise their content to perform in this space.

We can also see that ‘Maps’ (M) are returning for this query; this tells us that people are searching locally for vegan products.

As Google strives to serve the user the ‘Answer’ to their query (or as close as it can get), it reveals a user’s intent in the results it surfaces. This is invaluable insight that can be used to inform an intuitive content and digital ecosystem strategy.

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How do you successfully enter the vegan market?

Food brands looking to move into the vegan market need to think about introducing vegan foods authentically into their product mix; it’s one thing to have a vegan product, but another to ensure your whole business model aligns with the vegan ideals about meat & dairy farming.

Post-pandemic, eco conscious issues will continue to be one of the UK’s biggest concerns. If your brand can authentically align with veganism, using search data will enable you to get inside the mind of your customer, and truly understand what it is they want.

Once you know what this is, you can begin to introduce veganism into your brand, and build consumer trust and loyalty.


If you want to explore the growth and development of trends, to stay ahead of your market, get in touch.

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