Veganism is on the rise in the UK. According to a study conducted by the Vegan Society, there are now over half a million Brits who identify as dietary vegans. In fact, the sale of meat-free foods is expected to steadily increase over the foreseeable future, from £572m in 2017 to £658m in 2021.
So what could this all mean for the fish and chip shop industry?
First and foremost, the British passion for fish and chips shows no sign of waning. The National Federation of Fish Friers claims that us Brits eat 382 million portions of fish and chips each year, which translates to six servings for every man, woman and child in the UK. We also spend around £1.2 billion on our favourite dish each year too.
It comes as no surprise then, that the UK’s undying love of fish and chips and its growing trend for vegan diets should combine to create something deliciously modern – vegan fish and chips.
Vegan chippies are starting to appear throughout the country. The very first London eatery dedicated solely to plant-based seafood alternatives opened in the capital at the end of 2018. Substituting fish meat for banana blossom that has been marinated in seaweed and samphire, Hackney based Sutton and Sons then wrap the banana blossom “fish” in the shop’s signature batter. Having already established themselves as a popular chippy Islington and Stoke Newington, Sutton and Sons reopened their branch in Hackney Central but only serving vegan alternatives to traditional fish and chip dishes.
Tofish or Not Tofish?
Banana blossom is also on the menu at Matter Fastfoods Plant Based Takeout in Bristol. The fleshy fruit-like flower comes from the bottom of a bunch of bananas and is said to flake in a way that is extremely similar to fish. The vegan fish and chips Bristol store also offers a tofish version, so that customers can decide which ingredient makes for the best fake fish.
Temple of Seitan is a vegan fast food restaurant in Hackney, and rather like the other vegan fish and chips diners mentioned, it offers an entirely meat-free menu. In this case, traditional dishes such as burgers, wraps and wings have swapped chicken for wheat gluten called seitan. High in protein with a texture surprisingly similar to meat, seitan is created once the starch has been rinsed away from the wheat. Although it has been used to replace chicken in this case, it is possible to use seitan as a fish alternative too.
These three styles of fish (and chicken) are the tools of choice for vegan fish and chip restaurants. Hoping to cater to vegans who miss the Friday night tradition of a fish and chip supper, flexitarians who are trying to cut down on their animal product consumption and even self-confessed meat-lovers who are curious about the vegan lifestyle, these restaurants offer a variety of exciting fried foods.
It’s not just new restaurants in trendy areas of London and Bristol that are responding to the increasing demand for delicious fried vegan food. Traditional seaside chippies are getting in on the action too…
‘Fish’ by the Sea
Thanet is a popular coastal area in the north-east of Kent that has seen a number of vegan eateries open lately. The first was Shakey Shakey fish bar in Ramsgate, which started out offering a vegan menu on selected days of the week, alongside a full traditional menu and a full gluten-free menu. The demand for tofish was so high, however, that they now serve vegan food every single day.
Shortly afterwards, Veg’n Out opened in Broadstairs, a fully vegan fish and chip restaurant that’s hoping to corner a large part of the market. They started their business after attending a running event and noticing that the vegetarian stall had the longest queue. With the intention of offering a vegan alternative that everyone could enjoy, their menu also includes gluten-free options and a selection of desserts, ensuring that everyone can sit and enjoy a tasty vegan fish and chip meal!
Don’t settle for less than the best frying oil
So, whether you’re a full-time vegan, a flexitarian or just a curious foodie looking to reduce your meat consumption, there are already some great vegan fish and chips options to try out. Just make sure your food is fried in the highest quality frying oil in the industry – Frymax. Contact our friendly team today to find out why we’re the first choice frying oil for the fish and chip trade.