Once a term that invoked a plethora of eye rolling and awkward family dinners, veganism is fast becoming an everyday part of people’s lives in one way or another.
Whether you’re a full-blooded carnivore or a plant-based aficionado, the idea of eating less meat is touching everybody’s lives, even reaching the Dail, and has gone way beyond just being the quirky trend of the under-represented few.
It’s making headlines in a society dealing with big issues such as climate change and environmental conservation, and as such, is seeing more and more of the population switch to what is perceived to be a more sustainable lifestyle.
Where once soy milk was the extent of Dublin’s plant-based repertoire, it is now quickly becoming a vegan mecca.
Everything from dairy free ice-cream to meat-free chicken wings are becoming so common that what was once a niche is quickly becoming the norm.
Well-known restaurants such as Milano’s and Zizzi’s have introduced plant-based menus as a fixture in their chains and it doesn’t seem like it’ll be long before the vegan trials being conducted abroad by heavy-hitters Burger King and Dominos find their way to Dublin’s fair city.
It’s also brought with it an increasing number of smaller businesses attempting to cater to the growing number of plant-based eaters in Dublin.
With locations such as Sova Vegan Butcher, just off Camden St, providing a fine dining experience and the Beast Eatery whipping up meat-free philly cheesesteaks and chicken-less ‘Chick-Hun’ burgers in The Liberties, the choices available are becoming more and more diverse.
It’s not just restaurants and fast-food franchises adapting to the trend. Big chain supermarkets such as Dunnes Stores and Tesco are dedicating whole sections to plant-based food as well as bringing their own range of products to the market.
Many businesses are also looking to incorporate vegan options into their stores.
Confectioneries and coffee shops are drawing in more custom by providing alternatives to their current menus.
On the popularity of vegan donuts, Lisa Quinlan, chief executive and owner of The Rolling Donut on Bachelor’s Walk, says: “We have spent three years mastering our vegan donuts, breaking down the perception that vegan products don’t have flavour.
“Their sales are growing every week and are now an integral part of our business that we could not manage without.”
Another businesswoman who is meeting vegans’ needs is Lauren Redmond, owner of Buttercream Dream.
After working in a leading vegan bakery in London, she returned to a more receptive Dublin.
She says: “Demand is bigger than before. Now we have our own production unit in Smithfield.”
As well as custom orders and markets, her vegan delicacies can be found in SuperValu, Avoca and all Fresh supermarkets in Dublin.
While the argument over whether veganism is here to stay or just a momentary trend is still raging, it’s clear that those businesses and industries in Dublin that have committed themselves to catering to this section certainly feel that it’s something not worth ignoring.