Veganism is a fast-growing trend. Picture: Pexels

Over the past few years, veganism in South Africa has only been growing, and as we move towards 2020, it’s clear that more and more companies are capitalizing on the popularity of this movement. 

It’s no longer just a dietary trend - it’s increasingly obvious that a shift towards a plant-based diet is necessary if we want to avert the worst effects of climate change. 

“If we want to create a more sustainable society, we need to rethink our entire food system - and the good news is that every day, more people get on board with this lifestyle,'' says Sven Fautley, the Western Cape Head of The Vegan Society of South Africa.

So, what’s on the vegan menu for the rest of 2019? Get ready to have some new plant-based favourites by the end of the year - brands are getting creative, and now, it’s clear that veganism is about compassion and innovation, not restriction.

Naturally, oat milk isn't as nutritious as whole oats. As a result, it's often enriched with nutrients — including calcium, potassium, iron, and vitamins A and D. Picture from Pexels

1. Oat milk

Oat milk has slowly become a favourite of baristas everywhere, and the general public is definitely catching on to this trend. It tastes so delicious in coffee, and while it can be pricey at coffee shops, it is cheap and easy to make in your own kitchen. 

“If you would rather go the DIY route for plant milks than purchase them at the store, oat milk is the obvious choice," advises Fautley. Oat milk has a natural sweetness without adding any refined sugar, and it’s super thick and creamy - expect to see it in coffee shops and grocery stores everywhere this year. 

Bonus: as it gets more popular, the price will probably start to drop a bit, too.

Developments in plant-based alternatives to fish and other marine life have the potential to save our oceans. Picture from Pexels

2. Plant-based seafood substitutes

We’ve got plenty of faux chicken, burgers, and even bacon - but when it comes to plant-based seafood, the options have been lagging behind. Until now, that is. 

According to Fautley, “With an increasing awareness of issues like over-fishing, more people are opting to leave seafood behind in the past, and the demand for plant-based alternatives is going up”. 

In 2019, we’ve seen more vegan versions of your old favourite seafood dishes to hit grocery store shelves and pop up on restaurant menus. Brands are putting out more vegan shrimp, tuna, crab cakes, fish fillets, and even “fancier” choices like vegan smoked salmon! This is definitely an area for brands to get creative.

Vegan black bean burger from Roxanne's Eatery in Morningside. Picture supplied.

3. Vegan fast food

If you’ve turned to veganism for health reasons, you might not be too interested in trying out any vegan fast food options - but for those of you who came to this lifestyle because of ethical or environmental concerns, it could be fun to indulge once in a while. 

“Vegan fast food may not fit into a whole foods, plant based diet, but this is actually a welcome development”, says Fautley. Many people hesitate to go vegan because they think that it’s going to be too inconvenient, and people who travel often are especially likely to have these concerns. 

“But when affordable chains are offering quick, tasty vegan meals, it shows people that veganism does not have to be restrictive,'' concedes Fautley.