The trend is starting across the pond, in and around London, England and it’s all about the “new” butcher.
Vegan butchers that is. One of these new butcher shops is called Faux, of course it is, and Ritchie Stainsby is its director and chef and is struggling to keep up with demand according to The Guardian. “It’s blown us away,” he says, of his first few days of trading. “We couldn’t tackle the demand – it was amazing. We’re used to cooking for big scale, but this was bordering on factory production. It was very intense.”
Their offerings include 12 to 15 products, including plant-based alternatives to bacon, brisket, chicken thighs, pork belly, meatballs to name a few that use flour, pea proteins, soy proteins, raw vegetables, tapioca, potato starches and grains as some of the core ingredients. Another store, Rudy’s Vegan Butcher, specializes in American Diner foods and was also started by a team from an existing vegan restaurant who make their own products. “We are so overwhelmed at how people have responded to our vegan meat,” said its operations manager, Max Patel. “We had a sell-out launch day and, since then, we have been selling out online and in store constantly.”
These stores are on trend – at least during the pandemic – The Smart Protein Project reports that the sales value of plant-based meat in the UK increased 63% between 2018 and 2020. Asda, one of my favorite supermarket chains is testing their own supermarket vegan butcher counter for 6 months in one store to see just how on trend this concept may be. It opened in January, to coincide with Veganuary, and sells “facon”, bean burgers and meat-free meatballs, as well as jackfruit wings and mock lamb. The supermarket said the vegan butcher counter was launched in response to an increase in online searches for “vegan” on ASDA’s website of 175% year on year. It has also added 22 new meat-free alternatives to its Plant Based range.
While many US supermarkets have expanded their plant-based offerings and even carved out special sections – it may be time to add a vegan butcher to their staff.