The Biggest New Vegan Food Trends To Be Excited About

As the planet moves further into the 21st century, vegan culture has become much more common. Veganism is not just a diet plan, it’s become a worldwide lifestyle. Each year more and more people have been making the switch, for a multitude of reasons.

Being vegan can benefit the earth, save the lives of animals, put a stop to toxic waste, and lead to better personal health. These are some of the most surprising vegan food trends that are expected to appear over the next year.

Keeping Up With The Milk Alternatives

oat milk at the checkout of a grocery store
Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

One of the restrictions of being vegan is not consuming any dairy products. This has led to numerous milk alternatives such as almond, cashew, oat, and pea. Each year new plant, soy, and nut-based milk products pop up all over in grocery stores and restaurants.

Researchers have looked into how cows’ milk affects the body. It’s thought to cause acne and is a risk factor for ovarian and prostate cancer. Vegan milk products are also beneficial because they help with the livelihood of animals and aren’t loaded with possibly harmful chemicals.

You Won’t Find This Seafood In The Ocean

vegan calamari and shrimp with dipping sauce on a plate
Veggie Rose/YouTube
Veggie Rose/YouTube

There’s a substitute for almost any food or drink these days and that is also true for seafood. Vegans aren’t only cutting out red meat and poultry products, they don’t eat any living organism. Luckily, there are a few products that provide a healthier alternative with a similar taste.

For example, there are plant-based shrimp and calamari, which are similar to those shown in the photo. Also, many vegans choose to get fish-free sushi and fishless tuna. When looking for a seafood alternative it’s best to find one with lots of omega-3s.

Umeboshi Has All The Flavor You’ll Need

umeboshi plums held up by chopsticks
Yna/Pinterest
Yna/Pinterest

For those who’ve never heard of an umeboshi, they might be surprised to find out that it’s actually a Japanese fermented plum. These wrinkly fruits are packed with flavor — they’re a little sour, sweet, and salty all at once. This is due to their high citric acid content.

Since it has a pretty intense taste it’s usually paired with something blander, such as rice or salads. The plums also have some great health benefits: they protect the liver, increase fiber in your body, block cancer growth, stabilize blood sugar, and strengthen bones.

Make Everything Black With Activated Charcoal

activated charcoal parfaits with strawberries
Da Tang/Pinterest
Da Tang/Pinterest

Although it may not look like the most appetizing thing in the world, activated charcoal is one of the top vegan trends. It’s made from burning bamboo wood or coconut husks into a fine powder and is mixed into food, drinks, beauty treatments, and more.

One of its many benefits is removing harmful toxins from your body and it has even helped people who’ve accidentally ingested poison. It tastes somewhat smoky and will color anything it’s mixed with completely black. Also, activated charcoal is also great for removing the heavy metal and fluoride content in water.

Fast Food Fans Will Love This Vegan Option

a vegan cruchwrap supreme from taco bell
Taco Bell/Instagram
Taco Bell/Instagram

Since more people hop on the vegan train each year, many businesses are learning to adapt. The fast-food industry brings in billions of customers annually, so almost all of them have incorporated some vegan options onto their menu.

Taco Bell has customers ask for things “fresco style” when they want to order a vegan menu item and they will cut out ingredients such as meat, cheese, and sour cream. Other restaurants are adding menu items with meat substitutes, lettuce wraps, or replacing non-vegan food with vegetables or tofu.

Don’t Skip The Mushrooms

balsamic grilled mushrooms on skewers
Zoryana Ivchenko/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Zoryana Ivchenko/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

For non-vegans, meat can make up a large part of their diet and how they receive a good amount of protein and iron. Vegans need to work around this and find tasty but healthy alternatives. One of the most diverse meat substitutes is the mushroom.

Mushrooms are easy to cook and can be made into a wide variety of dishes to pack in some bold flavors. They are very nutritional and can increase your body’s antioxidants, vitamins, copper, and potassium. Aside from food, mushrooms can be used to replace leather and other animal by-products.

How Social Media Helps the Vegan Community

apps displayed on an iPhone screen
Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images
Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images

One of the most anticipated trends for the vegan community is the rise of the topic on social media. There are new social platforms added each year with billions of users across the globe. Vegans will be able to communicate and share their stories through written posts, photos, videos, and more.

People can post about new vegan recipes, restaurants and stores with new vegan options, and how veganism is helping the planet. There are already many vegan-themed social media accounts and the numbers are only expected to grow.

Ube Has Everyone Seeing Purple

a purple pie made with ube
Izzy Poquiz/Pinterest
Izzy Poquiz/Pinterest

It’s difficult to find other foods with a hue as beautiful as ube. It’s a purple version of a potato or yam and started as a staple dessert for people in the Philippines. In recent years ube has broken out into the mainstream world where it’s been voted “the new most Instagrammable food” and “the current flavor of the moment.”

It has a smooth texture with a mildly sweet flavor similar to vanilla or pistachio. Although it looks like it has a lot of food coloring, ube is completely natural. It’s been deliciously baked into treats including cupcakes, pancakes, and pies.

Spot the Difference With Vegan Cheese

three vegan cheese varieties on a plank
Steffi Loos/Getty Images
Steffi Loos/Getty Images

Since cheese is one of the main dairy products humans consume every day, it’s crucial that vegans are able to find an alternative. Each year it’s estimated that every person in the United States eats around 38 pounds of cheese. Now, there are more and more vegan options coming to grocery stores and restaurants.

Vegans can choose from a wide variety including soy, tree nuts, seeds, coconuts, flour, root vegetables, and even the liquid from canned chickpeas called aquafaba. While vegan cheese is a more mindful alternative to regular cheese, it shouldn’t be relied on as the sole source of protein.

Add Some Tahini To Your Food

fried cauliflower drizzled with tahini sauce, parsley, and tomatoes
Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Tahini is a staple of Mediterranean culture, often used in dishes such as hummus or dressings. It starts out as sesame seeds that are ground into a thick paste. Just a little bit of tahini goes a long way because of its heavy texture and nutty taste.

People are now finding new ways to enjoy tahini by adding it to breakfast or dessert foods. It actually has a decent amount of protein not found in most milk and nut products. There are also rich sources of vitamins B and E that can help boost energy, increase brain function, and protect against heart disease and stroke.

Going Vegan Isn’t Just For Humans

a dog being fed a carrot
Bernd Settnik/picture alliance via Getty Images
Bernd Settnik/picture alliance via Getty Images

Most pet owners would do anything to make sure that their pets live a happy and healthy life. One way to do this is putting them on a vegan meal plan. Since it’s been proven to significantly help humans, people started to inquire if going vegan would be right for their pets.

The majority of animals will go vegan either due to their owner’s personal and ethical beliefs or if they have some food allergies. Most animals get their vital nutrients from both plant and animal products, so it’s best to consult a professional before switching their food.

Find A Vegan Restaurant Near You

vegan restaurant sign that says 100% vegan
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Even though more places are adding vegan options to their menus it’s still appreciated when you can find a restaurant that only produces vegan food. This makes it a lot easier on the consumer because they know that whatever they order will come without hassle. They also might find new dishes that they couldn’t get anywhere else.

Over the last decade, vegan cuisine has become more a staple in American culture. Now, it’s common to find an area with a cluster of restaurants that have a high chance of including a vegan-only option.

Mix In Some Nutritional Yeast

nutritional yeast inside a wooden bowl with a spoon
Real Simple/Pinterest
Real Simple/Pinterest

One item that’s becoming more common to find in vegan dishes is nutritional yeast. It comes from a species of yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae and is also the same yeast that is found in most bread and beer. It’s packed with tons of protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Some popular ways to use it include sprinkling it over some popcorn or stirring it into soups for flavor and texture. Its unique umami flavor also helps give some food items a cheese-like taste.

What’s Next For Vegan Frozen Meals

a close-up of someone holding a frozen vegan pizza box
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Frozen food may seem to be a thing of the past, but that isn’t stopping numerous vegan food industries from putting their own spin on it. One great benefit of new vegan options in the frozen food section is that companies will be able to have their healthier options spread out to more locations.

Also, not everyone living the vegan lifestyle has time to cook a gourmet meal every day, so they can turn to frozen food options for convenience. When looking at the packaging, most vegan food products have a symbol with a “V” to represent that it’s 100 percent vegan.

Treating the Earth with Kindness

wrapped leaves tied together
Tessa Bunney/Getty Images
Tessa Bunney/Getty Images

Going vegan isn’t just about the refusal to ingest animal products, but there are instances when the well-being of the environment are just as crucial. Some vegan businesses have recognized this when it comes to their production process.

For example, Loving Earth Chocolate, a vegan chocolate company, is completely sustainable and fair trade and only uses non-GMO ingredients. Some rural Asian countries also live sustainably by packaging produce in leaves, bamboo, and other natural items.

It’s Time To Gnaw On Some Vegan Jerky

vegan jerky packages in a basket
Chris So/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Chris So/Toronto Star via Getty Images

While jerky is traditionally meant to be thick and chewy slices of dehydrated meat, some vegan jerky brands are here to debunk that. Vegans who need to satisfy their craving for jerky are in luck. The jerky in the photo is a soy-based one that comes in flavors such as bourbon-smoked black pepper, Sriracha maple, and sesame teriyaki. It also has more of a spongy texture.

Other brands are using meat substitutes including mushrooms, eggplant, coconut, pineapple, and even watermelon. Most of them are gluten-free as well.

Don’t Miss Out On These Vegan Desserts

a hand taking a vegan ice cream in a supermarket
Ole Spata/picture alliance via Getty Images
Ole Spata/picture alliance via Getty Images

Just because someone is vegan doesn’t mean that they have to skip dessert. There are countless vegan dessert options for people to choose from, so it can be tough to narrow down the best ones. Some trends in vegan desserts are coconut-based ice creams and the spread of vegan-only doughnut shops.

There are many reasons that even non-vegans may appreciate switching to vegan desserts. Most don’t contain chemical preservatives, hydrogenated oils, trans fat, and artificial coloring or flavors. One of the best parts is that most of these sweet treats taste almost exactly like the real thing.

Vegans Hatched A New Egg Replacement

a chef making a vegan egg dish on a frying pan
Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images
Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

It was reported by The Washington Post that Americans are eating eggs at the highest rate in over 50 years. They calculated that on average, one person will eat about 279 eggs a year, which equates to 95 million nationwide. This can take a toll on chickens in farms and factories.

Now, there are some new egg replacements that vegans can try. One upcoming vegan egg brand called Just is making its egg-like product with mung beans. People can also try to make their own egg substitute at home with items including applesauce, banana, flaxseeds or chia seeds, tofu, and arrowroot powder.

Expect To Taste Some Bold Chili Flavor

fresh red chilis
Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images
Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images

In order to turn plants, nuts, soy, and other ingredients into vegan food items they need to be loaded with lots of powerful flavors. One prediction for a popular flavor is chili. Many vegan brands are making items such as spicy chickenless patties or Sriracha-flavored veggie chips.

Flavor is crucial when added to any type of food because without it everything would taste bland and boring. Also, a close runner up to the chili flavor is barbecue. It’s likely that these flavors will be included in more vegan food options within the upcoming year.

Grab a Bowl of Vegan Cereal

vegan cereal on a shelf at a grocery store
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Although many kinds of cereal are almost vegan, there are some that still contain animal-derived ingredients. Some cereals also have hidden chemicals and high-sugar content that many vegans would never put in their bodies.

In recent years more organic and vegan brands have introduced new 100 percent vegan cereals to supermarkets across the globe. Some are almost duplicates of well-known cereals including Cornflakes and Cheerios, while others are unique and unlike any cereal of the past. Since there are now many varieties it won’t be difficult to find one to enjoy.