UK supermarket giant Asda is testing out a new plant-based concept to coincide with Veganuary. The retailer has teamed up with vegan concept creator, Kbox Global, to launch a vegan butcher counter. 

The vegan butcher counter, called Veelicious, will offer consumers a myriad of plant-based products. Products include vegan bacon, meat-free meatballs, bean burgers, vegan lamb, and a meat-free black pudding.

Additionally, Veelicious will feature a small selection of vegan cheeses and meal kits, as well as vegan staples like chutneys and cooking sauces. 

The demand for plant-based foods in the UK has grown in recent years. Market research firm Mintel found that meat-free food sales in the UK grew 40 percent from 2014 to 2019. In January 2020, the firm predicted that meat-free food sales would rise to more than £1.1 billion by 2024. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, plant-based diets have seen a surge in popularity, especially among British millenials. A recent analysis found that around 25 percent of British millennials found vegan diets more appealing. 

“The demand for vegan products is on the rise and we have seen a surge in people seeking out ways to easily enjoy a plant-based lifestyle. We recognised the importance of helping our customers with their Veganuary journey,” said Preyash Thakrar, Asda’s Chief Strategy Officer. “Across our product range we offer many options for vegans and flexitarians, such as meat-free alternatives and vegan cheeses, ensuring that our customers don’t have to compromise on quality, taste or value when following a plant-based lifestyle.”

Initially, Asda’s vegan butcher concept will be available at its Watford location for a six-month trial period. 

“Veelicious will be a ‘test and learn’ trial to help us understand what resonates with customers to enable us to enhance our plant-based proposition,” said Thakrar.

The UK retailer will also be adding 22 new meat-free foods to its plant-based offerings in support of Veganuary.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the globe are opting for plant-based foods for the month of January. More than 500,000 people have already joined the 31-day Veganuary challenge, and the number continues to grow. 

In addition to its participants, Veganuary 2021 has seen increased involvement from supermarkets throughout the UK. Asda, Tesco, M&S, Morrisons Waitrose, and Iceland have all been promoting Veganuary and encouraging their customers to give plant-based eating a try. 

“While new vegan product launches from big name brands are exciting, the way British supermarkets have embraced Veganuary this year is truly game changing,” said Toni Vernelli, Veganuary’s Head of Communications. “They are not simply using it as a marketing opportunity but are promoting the many benefits of plant-based eating and encouraging people to give it a try. As bastions of our food supply, they know that the only sustainable way forward is plant-focused.”