A recent survey by Hayes and Jarvis, based on TripAdvisor data of the 50 most visited cities in the world, shows that Dublin had the biggest share of vegan restaurants in 2019, with 21.2% of its restaurants classified as either vegan or offering plant-based options. We spoke with one successful Irish startup about the vegan revolution in Ireland.
As we reported this February, veganism has seen a steady increase in Ireland, with more and more consumers opting for plantbased options. The sale of non dairy milks rose sharply following Veganuary at the beginning of this year, with a 40% increase in sales of plant-based milk alternatives in January compared to 2018. Additionally, the sale of plantbased sausages and burgers collectively rose by 35%.
Shane Ryan, founder and CEO of Irish startup FIID, told us that he is not surprised by the new data: “Dublin is a young city – for a city of just 1.3 million people it boasts over 120,000 university students and thousands more young people from across the world attracted by well-paid jobs in the global tech giants like Google, Facebook, Linkedin, Airbnb etc. The data shows that the plant based trend is largely driven by millennials and Gen Z so when you mix together an increased awareness in global climate issues and an openness to new ideas in a city that is driven by youth you get a perfect storm for cultural change.
“Customers vote with their feet and when restaurants and cafes don’t meet their needs they go elsewhere, which has meant that the whole industry has responded with more varied menus offering options for vegan and vegetarian eaters and the increasing numbers of flexitarians. Interestingly, I’ve noticed an increase in cafes and restaurants really wanting to make a change to a more sustainable way of doing things – this includes more vegan options but extends too to more sustainable packaging, encouraging reusables, and separating waste for example.
“It has also led to a huge uptick in the number of vegan first / vegan only restaurants in the city, particularly over the last 12-18 months. In the Dublin 7 district alone we have Kale+Coco, Beo Wine Bar and Kitchen, Woke Cup, The Planted Bean, Peel and V-Face all offering exclusively vegan menus to diners.
“As a plant based business owner in Dublin it feels amazing to be a part of this revolution and owe a huge part of our early success to the vegan businesses that came before us. Businesses like The Happy Pear (now a global phenomenon) really broke the mould for what vegan eating means and educated consumers on the benefits as well as allaying their fears. We launched our range of plant based bowls into retail in Ireland in January of this year and have seen explosive growth in that short amount of time, serving over 150,000 meals. We’re excited about what’s to come next and look forward to being part of the vegan story here and beyond.”