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Just ahead of Burns Night, haggis joins the vegan food boom

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2019-01-28  Views: 11
Core Tip: UK supermarket Tesco is making headlines after it announced two vegetarian versions of the famous Scottish haggis.
UK supermarket Tesco is making headlines after it announced two vegetarian versions of the famous Scottish haggis. The announcement came just days before this evening’s Burns Night celebrations, an annual celebration of the life and works of Scottish poet and lyricist Robert Burns. Haggis, Scotland’s national dish, traditionally includes offal cooked in a sheep’s stomach and classically features prominently on the Burns Night dinner table.

Made by brands Simon Howie and Macsween, Tesco’s vegetarian versions have both recently been approved by The Vegan Society. It’s one of the world’s most famous and distinctive meat dishes but now demand for the vegetarian/vegan version of haggis is rocketing. 

Both companies say they plan to add the certification to packaging soon.

Although the vegetarian version was initially only on sale in Scottish Tesco stores, the demand was reportedly so strong that the supermarket is now also trailing them at stores across England and Wales, in time for Burns’ Night tonight.

“The current clamour for vegan and vegetarian food has really helped send sales soaring for the non-meat version of the haggis,” says Tesco Scottish food buyer James Lamont. “Even though vegetarian haggis has been around for a few years we’ve never seen anything like the current demand – and it’s not just during Burns’ week, it’s all year round.”

“Veggie haggis is a delicious meal in its own right not too dissimilar to a nut roast and we think vegetarians and vegans are buying them as centerpieces for roast dinners.”

It’s not only demand for vegetarian haggis that is soaring – interest in Burns Night itself has taken off in England and Wales, Tesco reports, with demand for haggis soaring by 700 percent in the week of Burns Night.

This year, Tesco will be offering a Burns Week Meal Deal including a haggis (original or vegetarian), a sachet of whisky sauce, a side of neeps and tatties plus a bottle of either regular or diet Irn-Bru for £5.

Veganism has been the fastest growing culinary trend in the last year and in 2018 demand for chilled and frozen vegan food at Tesco increased by more than 50 percent, helping to swell the UK meat free market to £310 million (US$405 million).

Haggis exports to Canada on the rise
The UK Department for International Trade reports that Scottish people in Canada will be celebrating Burns Night with a hearty serving of haggis, thanks to the rise in exports from Scotland’s largest producer of the iconic meat pudding.

Macsween made history in 2017 when it became the first company to export the dish to Canada since 1971, after developing a new recipe that meets the country’s food safety regulations.

Canada is Macsween’s biggest foreign export market, where the company shipped £25,000 worth of haggis this January. With 4.7 million Scottish people living in the country, Macsween haggis is available in new English and French language packaging for Canada.

“Macsween’s success in Canada is great news at a time when UK exports are at a record high. In the year ending September 2018, exports from Scotland increased by 6.2 percent to £29.6 billion, the highest rise in the UK,” says UK International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP says. “The company’s international success is a testament to the high-quality produce in the UK and is showcasing the best of Scottish food and entrepreneurial success this Burns Night.”

 
 
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