In a supermarket first, the retailer will also introduce a dedicated vegan section, which will be signposted in its shops. In total, the range will feature 125 ingredients, ready meals and other meat-free products.
Among 50 new products due to be launched next month by the grocery multiple are two exclusive brands: The Happy Pear, created by renowned plant-based and whole food chef duo David and Stephen Flynn; and The Vegetarian Butcher, a Dutch company specialising in meat substitutes made using plant-based proteins.
Kantar UK Insights – an online portal which reports on British insights and live trend data – has predicted that 2018 will be the year that Brits go vegan. It has also forecast that 2018 will be the year that plant-based diets go mainstream. Waitrose says it is already seeing this trend reflected in its sales of vegetarian food, which are up 34% year-on-year.
Waitrose chilled vegetarian and vegan buyer Chloe Graves said: “Our current selection of products has been selling really well week after week, with requests for more choice coming from our customers and Partners [staff]. So we could clearly see there was an appetite to have more vegetarian and vegan options in our shops.
“We are working with some fantastic exclusive brands to ensure our shoppers have a really unique selection of food to choose from. With flexitarianism also on the rise, we have made sure we have dishes and ingredients for those looking to opt for a meat-free meal suitable for the whole family to enjoy.”
The Happy Pear co-founders David and Stephen Flynn added: “We’re chuffed to be entering the UK market with our products and really honoured to be working with Waitrose to expand its vegan range. We have been working with Waitrose since 2016, creating vegan recipe videos and on customer events. This is a great, growing partnership, which supports our mission to help people live healthier and happier lives.”
The range, which launches in Waitrose from June 4, will see an increase of products available in all shops, with 125 branches stocking the full selection of vegan and vegetarian food.
The Happy Pear: exclusive to Waitrose