The time is fast approaching when the traditional Christmas roast will be landing on dinner tables across the country – and for a growing number of people it will be a parsnip roulade, Tofurkey or vegan chicken roast going under the carving knife.
More than a third of Britons are open to the idea of celebrating a vegetarian or vegan Christmas this year, according to a survey by British Corner Shop, an online supermarket that delivers Marmite and teabags to British expats around the world.
While the poll of just over 400 Britons aged 25 to 65 living abroad is small, it reveals a heartening change in attitudes to what is traditionally one of the most meat-heavy days of the year, and will give turkeys in particular something to cheer about.
As part of a raft of 20 questions about festive food and drink, it found that while just 5.6 per cent of people don’t have meat on Christmas Day, more than a third – 37 per cent – would be willing to swap their turkey dinner for a veggie or vegan feast. Other questions included: “Do you like Brussels sprouts?” (73.83 per cent of people responded, inexplicably, in the affirmative), “What is your favourite Christmas sauce/condiment?” and “At what time of day do you traditionally eat your Christmas Dinner?”
There was an avalanche of delicious answers to the question: “If you already have a vegetarian/vegan Christmas dinner, what do you have?”, including butternut soufflé, homemade nut loaf, Quorn roast, “faux gras” and vegan mushroom and cranberry wellington. The creativity and general deliciousness on display backs up the fact that Britons are becoming expert at conjuring up plant-based festive grub. A Sainsbury’s survey in 2016 found that almost a third of households would be preparing a vegan or vegetarian meal for one or more people around the Christmas dinner table.
Hannah Ward of British Corner Shop said there had been a clear shift in attitude towards vegetarian and vegan foods, something underlined by the fact so many plant-based Christmas foods were off on offer in shops this year. “[That’s] a true reflection of customer interest,” she said. “Whether people are looking to switch out a specific Christmas dinner component, or go completely meat free over the festive period, there are now plenty of options that mean you don’t have to miss out on your favourite festive foods.”