All the pundits predicting the 2018 food trends agreed on one thing. Vegetable-based foods were HOT, they said. It seemed more Aussies were going vegan, which is no doubt why pizza chain Domino’s announced its vegan pizza range in January 2018. Initially there were three different varieties, all using vegan cheese, or you could build your own from a list of veggie ingredients.
According to a Euromonitor International market research report in 2016, Australia was the third fastest-growing market for vegan food in the world. They put the total value of packaged vegan food at about $136 million and predicted that it would rise to $215 million before 2020.
Vegan pizza was not the most popular form of vegan-friendly food, with milk products making up the greatest share of the market. However, ‘fake’ meat products were beginning to make inroads. They were even making their way into the non-vegan world and at least one forecaster predicted that traditional meat dishes like burgers might soon be blended with mushroom or soy. No good for vegans, but a way for the rest of us to reduce our meat intake.
The Domino’s vegan pizza came in Vegan Avocado Veg, Vegan Spicy Veg Trio or Vegan Margherita. It was later expanded with additional varieties including vegan meat and onions. The pizzas used vegan mozzarella ‘cheese’. Non-dairy cheeses are made from a range of ingredients including starches, plant oils and proteins, yeast, soy and non-dairy ‘milks’. It’s not clear what went into the version Domino’s used (made by a company called ‘Livekindly’) but a typical non-dairy mozzarella is made from tapioca and arrowroot flours, plant oil, pea protein, natural flavours and salt.
Domino’s did point out (in very small print) that their vegan pizza was made on the same equipment as their regular pizzas, so they couldn’t guarantee that they were 100 per cent free of animal matter.
Along with the vegan trend, experts predicted more ‘concept’ or ‘niche’ restaurants (in November 2017 a pop-up restaurant served only avocado dishes), an increasing reliance on technology (think delivery apps) and a continuing explosion of fermented foods as we entered yet another era of health-consciousness.