Vegan butchers: absurd or new business trend

British supermarkets are opening vegan butcher shops, and individual entrepreneurs are opening vegan butcher shops. Shoppers line up in such long lines that shopkeepers have to spend whole days in the kitchen making herbal counterparts of popular deli meats.

Triumph of vegan meat

Richie Stainsby, owner and chef of Faux, opened his place a month ago – and was immediately overwhelmed by the influx of customers. Stainsby had to work in the kitchen seven days a week as customers queued for at least an hour. According to the vegan shop owner, he is used to cooking on a large scale, but now the increased demand has turned the manufacture of semi-finished products into industrial production.

Faux is the second UK startup to market itself as a vegan butcher. The first was Rudy’s Vegan Butcher, which specializes in plant-based alternatives to American fast food meat dishes. A typical Faux assortment includes 12-15 popular meat products – plant-based bacon, vegan chicken legs, brisket, meatballs, burgers, and more.

The owners of both shops base their production on the sites of active vegan restaurants. Both chefs know all the secrets of imitating delicacies from plant-based ingredients: soy, pea and wheat proteins, tapioca starch and vegetables.

Supermarkets are responsive to demand

The management of the British supermarket chain Asda decided to open vegan meat departments after the number of searches for vegan products on the store’s website increased by 175%. The assortment already includes 22 items, among them “fake” (fake bacon), vegetable meatballs, bean burgers and fake lamb.

The phenomenal success of vegan departments and shops was explained by PR manager of the British Vegan Society Francine Jordan. According to her, shops have already become a new trend, since there is an element of novelty in this format.

Vegan meat substitutes have been widely available for a long time, but until recently there were no stores or departments where customers could come in person to choose something original for dinner from a decent assortment. Another factor is the overall growth in demand for vegan products: in recent years, the number of vegans in the UK has grown by 360%.

Should you open vegan butcher shops in Russia?

Russian vegans are not spoiled for a wide range of products. According to BusinesStat, the production of vegan products is at the level of 12.9 thousand tons per year, and by 2024 it will grow to 32.7 thousand tons. The country has its own producers of soy mince and sausage, but the market demand for vegan cheese and milk is mainly compensated by imports.

According to a Zoom Market survey, about 2% of Russians are vegetarians, with most of them living in St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad and Moscow. However, there are two other categories of consumers to consider when planning to open a vegan butcher shop. The first is the fasting Orthodox believers; all retail chains report that they provide impressive (albeit seasonal) sales of plant-based counterparts to familiar animal products.

The second category of buyers who prefer vegetable substitutes for meat and dairy products are allergy sufferers. The popularization of ideas about the dangers of lactose and gluten has made a great contribution to the growth of demand for vegan products in Russia. The opening of a vegan butcher shop in the capital or St. Petersburg will be met with no less enthusiasm than in London.

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