The Top 7 Vegan Trends to Watch in 2024

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2024 is shaping up to be a revolutionary year for vegan cuisine. While innovation in meat alternatives continues to impress, the focus is shifting towards a more holistic approach to plant-based eating. 

Get ready to see a rise in vegan trends that celebrate real, whole foods, prioritize sustainability, and explore exciting global flavors. From fermented delicacies to guilt-free plant-based indulgences, this year promises something for every palate. 

As we dive into the vegan food trends shaping menus and kitchens around the globe, you’ll discover that plant-based eating has evolved from a niche choice to a dynamic and mouthwatering movement. 

Here are 7 of the most popular vegan food trends to watch out for in 2024:

1. Whole foods focus

For many, veganism has become synonymous with innovative meat substitutes and lab-grown alternatives. However, 2024 vegan trends show a shift towards a more fundamental approach: a focus on whole foods. This trend prioritizes plant-based products made with recognizable, unprocessed ingredients like legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

This shift also reflects a growing consumer desire for transparency and real food. People are seeking vegan options that align with a focus on overall health and well-being. The whole food focus celebrates the inherent deliciousness and versatility of plant-based ingredients, encouraging culinary creativity in the kitchen. 

Expect to see exciting new products like veggie burgers packed with colorful vegetables, or tempeh crumbles seasoned with bold spices. This trend is not just good for your plate, it’s a positive step towards a more sustainable and transparent food system.

2. Vegan fast food

Veggie Burger and sweet potato fries

Chains like Burger King, KFC, and Taco Bell now offer vegan options on their menus, making it easier than ever for people to enjoy vegan food on the go.

One popular vegan fast food item is the Impossible Whopper from Burger King. This plant-based burger is indistinguishable from the real thing and a great option for vegans looking for a satisfying fast food meal. 

KFC offers a vegan chicken sandwich, and Taco Bell has a vegan Crunchwrap Supreme.

In addition to these major chains, many smaller vegan fast-food restaurants are popping up all over the country. These restaurants offer various vegan options, including burgers, tacos, burritos, and pizzas.

The rise of vegan fast food is an excellent sign for the vegan community. It means vegans no longer have to sacrifice convenience or taste on the go.

3. Fermentation explosion

Move over kombucha, because 2024 is witnessing a full-blown fermentation explosion in the vegan world! This exciting trend goes beyond bubbly beverages, with fermented vegetables, cheeses, and even meats taking center stage. But why the sudden surge?

Fermentation is an ancient process that preserves and imbues it with beneficial probiotics. These gut-friendly bacteria contribute to a healthy digestive system and may even offer immune system support. Vegans are increasingly interested in incorporating these powerhouse ingredients into their diet, and food producers are responding with innovative products.

From tangy kimchi to creamy cashew cheese, fermented options offer a burst of flavor and a dose of probiotics. Even adventurous palates can find something to love, with vegan tempeh “sausage” and fermented tofu crumbles adding depth and umami to any dish. This trend is a win-win for vegans seeking delicious and gut-healthy options, making fermented foods a staple in 2024 kitchens.

4. Plant-Based Seafood

Plant-based seafood is one of the fastest-growing areas of the vegan food market. This is because it offers a sustainable and ethical alternative to traditional seafood, often caught in destructive fishing practices and can be high in mercury.

Some of the most popular plant-based seafood products include:

  • Finless Foods’ sushi-grade tuna: This product is made from a blend of plant proteins and algae, and it has a texture and flavor that is indistinguishable from real tuna. 
  • Sophie’s Kitchen’s crab cakes: These crab cakes are made from a blend of chickpeas, hearts of palm, and spices, and they have a texture and flavor that is very similar to real crab cakes. 
  • Good Catch’s fish-free tuna: The tuna is made from a blend of different plant proteins and have a texture and flavor similar to real tuna. 

Plant-based seafood is an excellent option for vegans, vegetarians, and seafood lovers alike. It is sustainable, ethical, and delicious. 

In addition to the products mentioned above, several other plant-based seafood products are on the market. They include plant-based shrimp, lobster, and scallops made from various proteins, such as soy, pea protein, and algae. They are seasoned to taste like the real thing.

The plant-based seafood trend is a great example of the evolving vegan food market. 

5. Mushroom mania

Move over, cauliflower steaks! 2024 is witnessing a full-blown “Mushroom mania” in the vegan world. These versatile fungi are popping up everywhere, from trendy restaurants to supermarket shelves. But what’s behind this sudden surge in popularity?

Mushrooms offer a unique combination of taste and texture. Their meaty quality makes them perfect for hearty vegan burgers, crumbles, and even jerky. They also boast a delightful umami flavor that adds depth to stews, sauces, and pasta dishes. Beyond taste, mushrooms are a nutritional powerhouse, packed with protein, fiber, and essential vitamins.

This trend isn’t just about mimicking meat; it’s about celebrating the inherent deliciousness of mushrooms. Expect to see innovative culinary creations like lion’s mane “pulled pork” sandwiches or portobello mushroom steaks with flavorful marinades. Mushroom mania is a win-win for vegans seeking nutritious, versatile, and exciting ingredients to add to their culinary repertoire.

Popular edible mushrooms

White Button Mushrooms: These are the most common type of mushrooms you’ll find at the grocery store. They have a mild, earthy flavor and a firm texture. White button mushrooms are versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries to soups to stews. 

Portobello Mushrooms: These large, brown mushrooms are the mature version of cremini mushrooms. They have a meaty texture and a strong, umami flavor. Portobello mushrooms are often used as a meat substitute in vegan dishes, such as portobello mushroom burgers or portobello mushroom steaks.

Shiitake Mushrooms: Shiitake mushrooms are a popular type of Asian mushroom with a dark brown cap and a long, white stem. They have a strong, savory flavor and a slightly chewy texture. Shiitake mushrooms are a good source of umami flavor and are often used in stir-fries, soups, and stews. They are also a popular ingredient in many Asian dishes. 

6. CBD-infused foods

Derived from cannabis, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound renowned for its potential to alleviate anxiety, curb inflammation, and promote overall well-being. This natural powerhouse seamlessly blends with the other vegan trends, resulting in a fusion of health and culinary innovation.

Vegan-friendly CBD offerings are on the rise, from CBD-infused chocolates that melt away stress to plant-based beverages that provide a tranquilizing sip. 

These products not only cater to the discerning taste buds of vegans. They amplify the health benefits associated with both plant-based and CBD-centric lifestyles. 

With CBD-infused foods, the fusion of flavor and wellness reigns supreme, reflecting a dynamic culinary landscape that is rewriting the narrative of nourishment and self-care.

7. “Upcycled” foods

Sustainability is a major talking point in the food industry, and 2024 sees vegan food producers embracing the power of upcycled ingredients. This vegan food trend tackles the issue of food waste by transforming what some might consider discards into delicious and nutritious vegan options.

Upcycled / ”remixed” food uses ingredients that would otherwise be thrown away, such as imperfect or surplus fruits and vegetables, spent grains from brewing, or even leftover pulp from juicing. These ingredients are then creatively transformed into new products like veggie burgers made with chickpea flour and upcycled carrot pulp, or flavorful crackers crafted from spent brewer’s grains.

The Upcycled food trend aligns perfectly with vegan values of compassion and environmental responsibility. It allows for the creation of innovative and delicious foods while minimizing food waste. Expect to see more brands showcasing their commitment to sustainability by utilizing upcycled ingredients. This vegan food trend also benefits the planet and opens doors to exciting culinary possibilities within the vegan world.

Conclusion

2024 promises to be a year of exciting exploration and delicious discovery for vegan food enthusiasts. From the comfort of familiar flavors reimagined with plant-based ingenuity to the thrill of adventurous new ingredients, these vegan trends offer something for every palate. So, embrace the possibilities, expand your culinary horizons, and redefine what it means to eat a delicious, sustainable, and satisfying vegan diet.

  • Simon Elstad

    As assistant editor at Greener Ideal, Simon champions clean energy, mobility, tech and the environment. He’s passionate about uncovering innovative solutions that power a sustainable future. When he's not dissecting envirotech data, you can find him exploring nature, actively supporting wildlife & environmental conservation efforts.

    To collaborate, support, give feedback or sponsor a post, please reach him at: [email protected]

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