Calling all vegans — no longer will you be restricted to falafel wraps for want of anything more exciting to eat at lunchtimes or for a quick dinner.

Because now, drumroll please, Tesco has launched the largest own-brand supermarket range of 100% plant-based meals. 

The new “Wicked Kitchen” range will be music to the ears of plant-eaters everywhere with a 20-item range including everything from pizza to wraps to the innovative carrot pastrami — whatever that is…

Take action: Call on Michael Gove to Protect the Environment by Supporting Plans to Halve EU Food Waste

Self-professed “plant pusher” and US chef Derek Samo is the man behind the brand, which has gone on sale in 600 stores across the UK. 

“When I first arrived in Britain from America I was hugely surprised at how little choice there was for vegans and those considering a lifestyle change,” said Samo, who was previously a global executive chef for Whole Foods Market, but was hired by Tesco in 2017 as its director of plant-based innovation. 

“The only thing I could find was a falafel wrap. For too long, vegans have been overlooked, with many offerings that are available seemingly created to appease rather than truly please.” 

Read more: 9 Ways Veganism Is Helping the Planet

Samo said that Wicked Kitchen “plans to change all that” with meals aiming to get people “on board with this growing foodie revolution.” 

Just a couple of examples to set your tastebuds aflutter: mushroom bolognese, BBC butternut mac, curried cauliflower, and teriyaki noodles. 

And for sandwiches, there’s spicy frijoles and pumpkin falafel, among others. 

But that’s not all, brace yourself for… BBQ pulled mushroom pizza, as well as caponata, both on sourdough bases. 

Read more: Why You Should Probably Never Eat Red Meat Again

Tesco has timed the rollout of the brand to perfection, just a week into “Veganuary” — which sees aspiring vegans cutting out all animal products for the month of January. 

There are a lot of good reasons to go vegan, including the fact that, according to the UN, it could literally save the world — from hunger, from fuel poverty, and from the worst impacts of climate change. 

It’s estimated that 700 million tonnes of food that could be consumed by humans instead goes to feeding livestock each year to support our meat-eating habits. Livestock also detract from the amount of fresh water available for human consumption, and they’re also one of the biggest polluters of fresh water. 

Meanwhile, clearing and maintaining the land being used by the livestock contributes to deforestation, overfishing, and pollution. 

Read more: 8 Must-Try Restaurants That Are Driving Social Change in the UK

With the global population expected to hit or surpass 9.1 billion by 2050, there is not enough land on the planet to raise enough meat to feed everyone a meat-heavy diet.

Veganism is a trend that looks set to transform the way many of us eat in 2018 and beyond. In the past 10 years, the number of vegans in Britain has risen by 360%. 

According to the Vegan Society, more than half of UK adults are adopting “vegan-buying behaviour,” and in the past year alone sales of chilled vegetarian meals and meat alternatives have risen by 25%.

There’s also a ready base of people who identify as “flexitarian” — with a third of Brits now using the term to describe their eating habits as increasing numbers of us try to cut down our reliance on meat. 

In just the past year, Sainsbury’s sales of vegan cheeses exceeded expectations by 300%, according to the Guardian; Uber Eats saw a 400% rise in vegan searches; and Pret A Manger sold more veggie products than meaty. 

Read more: This App Will Change the Way You Think About Vegetarian Cuisine

And supermarkets and restaurants are tapping into the trend, making it easier than ever to cut animal products out of your life for good. 

Online grocer Ocado has this month added a further 90 products to its dedicated vegan site; Pizza Express and Pizza Hut both now offer vegan pizzas; and Pret a Manger introduced a range of vegan pots last week. 

This Christmas, Sainsbury’s even launched a dairy-free, vegan cheese board, which included blue cheese, cranberry cheese, and mature cheese, and Marks & Spencer and Aldi also both now have a dairy-free cheese options on their shelves.

So let’s jump on the bandwagon, sit back, and see where this plant revolution takes us in 2018. 

Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the UN Global Goals, which address hunger, climate change, life on land, and sustainable cities and communities. You can join us by taking action here


Defend the Planet

Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen is a Range of 100% Plant-Based Meals

By Imogen Calderwood