So what’s your favourite meat alternative? Soya? Jackfruit? Quorn? How about Seitan? The wheat gluten made product is starting to really take off in the UK with the country’s leading seitan manufacturer LoveSeitan reporting a 78 percent increase in demand in 2020 compared to the previous year. It says there’s no slowing in demand either and it is on course for 74 percent growth in 2021.
Seitan, which was until fairly recently the preserve of old school vegetarian restaurants and health food shops, has actually been around since the sixth century. It has been popular in part of Europe, including bizarrely France, for many decades but has only recently become a staple of the diets of vegans and others who have stopped eating meat in the UK.
Part of its popularity could be driven by the success of the take-away service Temple of Seitan which has several London outlets and uses the substance to make very authentic KFC-style fake chicken patties.
In a recent interview with Vegeconomist, LoveSeitan’s co-founder Steve Swindon predicted that seitan will become more popular than tofu or jackfruit. He says that many customers find the taste and texture of Seitan more satisfyingly “meaty” than other available alternatives.
“The increase in demand has been remarkable, especially since the start of pandemic. We are seeing many new customers admitting they are now choosing seitan as a healthier, greener option for protein instead of animal meat in an effort to protect their immunity, general health and the environment.
“As health and sustainability become more important for everyone, we expect to see the popularity of seitan continue to surge upwards,” said Steve Swindon. “Our seitan is packed with protein and B12, and it’s a source of fibre, so it ticks a lot of boxes for customers.”
LoveSeitan has been in existence since 2017 and its backers include VBites founder Heather Mills. It boasts a range of products including Facon Bacon, Seitan Burgers, Seitan Bites and Seitan Pepperoni which are available direct to consumers in shops like Whole Food Markets.