The number of people who are vegetarian or vegan is huge - and it's growing! According to the Food Standards Agency's 2002 National Diet and Nutrition Survey(1), 5% of people aged 19-64 years in the UK are vegetarian or vegan (7% of women and 2% of men).
More people are turning towards a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle as they realise the benefits for their own health, the environment, and animal welfare.
As a result, caterers and hoteliers are having to respond to the growing demands from this expanding segment of society. The number of purely vegan and vegetarian restaurants and lodgings are continuing to swell, and there are few omnivorous restaurants that do not offer at least one vegetarian dish. However, many businesses are simply unaware of the requirements of vegans. Many restaurants think that by simply putting a "V" next to dishes with no meat in, they are catering to their vegetarian clientele. As any frustrated vegetarian who has been offered a dish containing non-vegetarian Parmesan knows, this is simply not sufficient. The information on this site is here to help everyone who wants to find out more, and can be used by vegans, vegetarians, professional caterers looking for help designing vegan or vegetarian menus, and anyone who wants to cook informally for vegan or vegetarian friends or relatives.
1. Henderson, L., Gregory, J and Swan, G. (2002) The National Diet & Nutrition Survey Vol 1. [online] available from <http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/ndnsprintedreport.pdf> [18 December 2005]