A few years ago, cutting meat, dairy and eggs out of your diet was sure to cause an almighty stir at the dinner table.
But ‘going vegan’ is now one of biggest food trends.
The number of people joining the plant-based eating revolution has rocketed by 260 pc over the past decade from 150,000 to 542,000, according to The Vegan Society.
A record 170,000 people also pledged to follow a vegan diet throughout January — or Veganuary as it was dubbed — up from just 3,300 in 2014.
To keep up with demand, dozens of restaurants and shops have launched vegan menus and plant-based food alternatives.
Approved: Guinness is now vegan-friendly after ditching isinglass (made of fish bladders) in the filtration process
Vegan staples of butter, milk, yoghurt and ice cream are commonplace in most big supermarkets.
Tesco’s vegan range, Wicked Kitchen, has sandwiches and wraps with exotic-sounding fillings such as smashin’ pumpkin falafel and sweet potato pakora.
PG Tips has even come up with vegan-friendly tea bags that work better with coconut, soy, almond or oat milk.
Popular restaurants, such as Pizza Express, Carluccio’s and Wagamama offer vegan choices. As does All Bar One and other pubs and bars.
And food delivery service Just Eat saw a 987 per cent increase in demand for vegetarian and vegan food last year.
Plant-based beauty products are popular too, both at high-end stores and high street retailers, such as Superdrug.
To count as vegan, these must be free from any animal-derived ingredients, including honey, beeswax and certain types of collagen and lipids.
So can you tap into this trend to boost your Isa portfolio?
PG Tips has come up with vegan-friendly tea bags that work better with coconut, soy, almond or oat milk
Darius McDermott, at Chelsea Financial Services, says: ‘This is still a very niche area. There are only a handful of vegan companies listed and they tend to be very small ones in the U.S. while there are also some in the start-up end of the market.
‘That said, there are plenty of mainstream companies, Nestle being a good example, that are expanding their vegan offerings, either through their product range or by acquiring some of these very small businesses.’
Mr McDermott likes Baillie Gifford Global Discovery which backs car maker Tesla. Its electric cars are known for being environmentally friendly; now it has plans to remove animal leather as an option for seats.
The fund invests almost £2 in every £100 in Tesla and has turned £10,000 into £23,704 in the past three years.
Also tipped by Mr McDermott is Natixis Loomis Sayles U.S. Equity Leaders fund which holds Monster Energy. It isn’t marketed as vegan but its drinks’ ingredients are, and are listed as such by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Most vegans check ingredients before buying, and sales of these drinks leapt by 20 pc in 2017.
The fund invests about £4 in every £100 in Monster, and has turned £10,000 into £17,623 in the past three years.
Mr McDermott also tips the Janus Henderson European Focus fund, which holds Nestle.
Nestle is set to expand its portfolio of vegetarian choices, and recently purchased Sweet Earth, a solely plant-based food firm.
Trendsetter: Premier League footballer Jermain Defoe credits a vegan diet with improving his game
Sweet Earth foods contain plant-based proteins such as seitan (wheat), tofu (bean curd) and legumes such as lentils.
The European Focus fund has turned £10,000 into £17,158 in five years.
The funds invest £3.40 in every £100 in Nestle.
Jason Hollands, at investment firm Tilney, tips Evenlode Income for savers who want to buy into vegan-friendly PG Tips. It puts about £7.50 in every £100 of your money into maker Unilever.
The fund also backs Diageo, which has created a dairy-free Baileys liqueur using almond milk (Baileys Almande). Guinness, in the same stable, is now vegan-friendly after ditching isinglass (made of fish bladders) in the filtration process.
The fund has turned £10,000 into £17,062 in five years. Kevin Doran, chief investment officer of broker A J Bell, says it’s important to make sure the firms and funds you back have a sound investment case unrelated to their vegan credentials.
He points to the Sarasin Food & Agriculture Opportunities fund. It holds Ocado Group that has a ‘vegan webshop’. The fund invests nearly £3 in every £100 in Ocado, and has returned £14,370, from £10,000 in five years.
Lee Coates, of advisers Ethical Investors tips the Kames Ethical Corporate Bond for anyone wanting a vegan-friendly option.
It has turned £10,000 into £12,068 in five years.
He also likes Kames Ethical Equity which returned £15,425 on the same investment, and Janus Henderson Global Equity fund which returned £22,367. Mr Coates adds: ‘These funds meet very strict animal welfare criteria.’