Changing UK diets have prompted Tesco to double its vegetarian and vegan centrepiece festive food offering this year.
And that should be good news for the growing number of people who don't eat or want to cut down on meat or dairy foods. It also shows customers that however they do Christmas - everyone's welcome at Tesco.
In the last year demand for vegetarian and vegan food has soared and Tesco is seeing the effect of lifestyle choices like Meat Free Mondays and flexitarian diets with sales of chilled vegetarian ready meals and meat substitutes growing by 25 per cent.
For vegetarians there's a Portobello Mushroom Wellington made with spinach and bursts of cranberry in rich puff pastry and also a Festive Nut Roast with a mulled wine and cranberry glaze.
And for the first time ever Tesco has two vegan Christmas dinner centrepieces - a sumptuous Turmeric Spiced Cauliflower Wellington and a festive Pecan and Peanut Roast with maple-roasted carrot and parsnip.
Tesco recently announced that chef Derek Sarno would be joining the retailer as director of plant-based innovation, with a focus on helping customers enjoy more plant-based food by putting it centre stage like never before.
Derek is now working with suppliers, farmers and chefs on developing exciting new foods that go on sale over the coming year.
Chef Derek Sarno said:
“These are changing times and vegetable dishes have now become centrepiece heroes in their own right on dinner tables up and down the country.
“We think that our Portobello Mushroom Wellington is so delicious that it may tempt diners to try something different this Christmas.
“This year, Tesco's Christmas campaign celebrates the many ways we come together at Christmas, and with the quality of vegetarian and vegan food now so good there may even be squabbles across the dinner table over who gets what.”
Tesco has been catering for the increasing amount of vegan customers throughout the year and is offering its biggest ever range of vegan products.
It recently increased its range of dairy free cheeses to nine and among the new additions are a melty red Leicester for cheese on toast, Mozzarella to top pizzas, a jalapeno Cheddar, a blue cheese, and Cheddar.
It has also launched eight new milk free desserts to cater for vegans.
According to a British Social Attitudes report published last year, three in 10 people in Britain (29 per cent) say they have reduced the amount of meat they eat in the past 12 months.
And nearly half (44 per cent) of people either do not eat meat, have reduced the amount of meat they eat or are considering reducing the amount of meat they eat.
Lynne Elliot, Chief Executive, the Vegetarian Society commented:
“With demand for vegetarian and meat-free alternatives rising, it's great to see supermarkets across the UK like Tesco working hard to keep their customers happy and increasing their vegetarian range.
“Offering customers a better choice is especially welcome at Christmas.”
As part of Tesco's commitment to increase the amount of vegetables in people's diets and encourage healthier eating, it has recently pledged to increase the amount of vegetables used in recipes and also offer more vegetable options amongst its ready meal deals.