Why Vegans Should Prioritise British Ingredients in Their Diet

Why Vegans Should Prioritise British Ingredients in Their Diet

The Vegan Choice - Embracing British Ingredients in Your Diet

Across recent years, the vegan movement has continued to gather momentum. Avocados rule Instagram, "Veganuary" is on New Year's Resolution Lists, and oat milk lattes are seen sipped across every Starbucks cafe.

While it may be said that plant-based diets are more sustainable than meat-heavy ones, there's always room for improvement. 

One way that vegans can reduce their carbon footprint even further is by giving priority to British ingredients in their diet. In this blog post, we will explore why it's important to support local British farmers and how it can benefit the environment at the same time. 


The Great British Vegan Revelation

More and more Brits are adopting the vegan lifestyle, choosing a plant-based diet that abstains from all animal products. This not only includes meat, poultry, and fish, but also dairy products, eggs, honey, and other products derived from animals.

A vegan food diet tends to be rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. 

There are several reasons why someone may choose to go vegan, such as health benefits or a desire to remove their consumption of meat. Another key reason is over the concern of environmental issues - specifically greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, the diet is adopted to minimise their environmental footprint and promote sustainability.

While British farms may be traditionally associated with livestock such as cows and pigs, they are, in fact, responsible for a vast range of produce that populates our supermarket shelves. This includes those listed above that are seen in a vegan diet. Our farmers grow and harvest a huge selection of plant-based ingredients that are not only delicious and nutritious, but also have a lower environmental impact compared to imported produce. 

Overall, vegans have a unique opportunity to further enhance the sustainability of their diet by incorporating British ingredients.


The Impact on British Agriculture

Vegetables for sale at a farmer's market

It can be said that veganism has significantly influenced British agriculture, creating a noticeable shift towards the cultivation of plant-based foods.

Regardless of whether your diet is meat-based or not, we all need to be mindful of how our shopping habits are affecting farming in the UK. When it comes to buying food for our tables, we should be prioritising supporting our British farmers, who are such an integral part of the nation's food supply.

Simple decisions can make all the difference. We might fancy avocado on toast for breakfast, but how far has that avocado travelled just to be smashed up and sprinkled with pepper? Making a conscious choice to focus on what's readily available to us in our own country is beneficial not just for the right now, but for the future of our agricultural industry.

If we choose something fresh and seasonal, we are giving back to our local economy, thus giving farmers the ability to improve their practices and do their own bit for sustainability. If farmers can't compete with overseas companies, our dependence on imported produce grows, and we are inviting the food miles clock to start ticking.


British Ingredients vs. Global Trendsetters

White sign reading global or local against a blue sky background

Food miles play a significant role in sustainability. The longer the journey from farm to plate, the higher the carbon emissions associated with transportation. 

By choosing locally grown British produce, vegans can significantly reduce these emissions. This is a win-win situation. British farmers are supported in their livelihoods, whilst vegans can enjoy delicious food that hasn't clocked up too many food miles.

Local fresh fruit, green vegetables, and other British vegan products are much better choices than imported produce for several reasons:

  1. Seasonal Eating: Choosing British ingredients allows for a more seasonal approach to eating. This practice reduces reliance on energy-intensive methods such as greenhouse farming or importing out-of-season produce from distant countries
  2. Strengthens Economies: Many small-scale farmers in Britain struggle to compete with large-scale multinational corporations. By prioritising buying local, vegans can help level the playing field and ensure a fairer market for our farmers
  3. Supports Biodiversity: The great thing about farms across the UK is that they engage in practices to promote biodiversity and protect wildlife habitats. By supporting our farmers, vegans can contribute to the preservation of native flora and fauna. This action aligns perfectly with the values of the vegan movement
  4. Reduces Food Waste: When ingredients like avocados from Peru get brought over, there's likely to be some food spoilage due to the weather, bumpy lorries, and storage facilities. This then means more needs to be brought over, adding to those emissions. Buying local helps to reduce the chances of this happening.

In addition to the environmental benefits, there is also a positive contribution to the future of food in this country.


How Vegans Can Support Local

There are plenty of easy habits that can be adopted into a vegan lifestyle that helps to support local farmers across the UK.

For example:

  • Purchase from local farmer's markets or farm shops. Local markets have an assortment of fresh, seasonal produce direct from nearby farms. You can make a morning of it by going with friends or taking the kids. Plus, there are often delicious samples! 
  • Join a community-supported agriculture (CSA) scheme. These allow subscribers to receive regular deliveries of fresh produce from a local farm, often with the opportunity to visit the farm and learn about the growing process
  • Support organic and sustainable farming practices. Look out for labels or certifications that indicate organic or sustainable methods were used, as these practices prioritise environmental conservation
  • Promote farmers online. Use social media or community groups to show off any local, hard-working farmers in your area. This helps others to see the benefits of buying British and connects people to their food.

By taking these steps, vegans can support local farms, contribute to the local economy, and further reduce their environmental impact, thus enhancing the sustainability of their lifestyle.


Farm-to-Table Veganism

Brussels sprouts in a bowl on a rustic kitchen table

Farm-to-table is a popular concept, which advocates for directly obtaining a variety of foods from local farms or farmers markets. 

This approach ensures maximum freshness, supports local agriculture, and reduces the carbon footprint associated with transporting food items over long distances. 

Vegans can incorporate this practice in lots of dishes, such as:

  • British Asparagus Soup: Asparagus is a prime springtime crop in Britain. Pair it with fresh herbs and a dash of lemon for a wholesome, creamy soup
  • Beetroot and Walnut Salad: Freshly harvested beetroot, combined with crunchy walnuts and a tangy vinaigrette, creates a vibrant and nourishing salad
  • Stuffed Peppers: Fill red, yellow, or green peppers with a hearty mix of British quinoa, cherry tomatoes, and a variety of herbs and spices for a tasty dinner
  • Apple Crumble: Warm, comforting desserts are easy to do too! Use British apples and a crumbly oat topping.

Find more recipes and examples of using British ingredients on the Veganuary website



By making mindful choices about the food we consume, we can create a positive impact on both the environment and our local farmers.

The farm-to-table vegan recipes provided above are just a starting point. There are lots of healthy dishes that can be whipped up using our homegrown food - the possibilities are endless!

So, let's make the most out of the fresh, local, and seasonal produce that Britain has to offer, and make the vegan journey even more environmentally friendly.

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