Veganism is frequently painted as an antithesis to “masculinity” or “manliness," but instead of letting stereotypes shroud the benefits of plant-based eating, Chefs Derek and Chad Sarno saw an opportunity to reframe the narrative. The brother duo founded Wicked Kitchen in 2018 to breathe excitement into veganism, breaking down archetypes that once discouraged consumers from trying plant-based foods. Wicked Kitchen has since increased in popularity with unprecedented sales in recent years, claiming that sales nearly doubled this January.

Wicked Kitchen initially launched in the UK as a Tesco-exclusive. While still headquartered there, the company has since expanded to the US as consumer demand for plant-based convenience food increases at an exponential rate. For Veganuary celebrations, Wicked Kitchen debuted a new Wicked Kitchen Meal Deal selection, providing inexpensive plant-based prepared foods. The Meal Deals became available for £8 or the equivalent of about $10 and sales spiked to record levels.

“In the last year we have concentrated on making the best quality plant-based food even more accessible for shoppers by lowering prices,” said Derek Sarno, who has a recipe column on The Beet.“The Wicked Kitchen Meal Deal, which is an amazing offer for folks that want to try plant-based for the first time, launched this Veganuary and is a testament to that.”

Wicked Kitchen was part of an overall trend in January of more vegan food sales, Tesco reported, including dairy-free milk, which shot up by more than 100 percent as compared to 2021. Plant-based meat alternatives rose nearly 40 percent in the month, while vegan pasta and soups sales increased by approximately 140 percent.

Consumers' enthusiasm for plant-based food is driving further development of new products, from vegan fish to other innovative products. The UK continues to rank as the world leader in veganism, as the population eating meat alternatives jumped from 6.7 percent to 13.1 percent.

“The amount of choice these days is mouth-watering and almost every category within supermarkets now has plant-based options, making it easier than ever for those considering or switching to embracing more Meat-Free days of the week,” Sarno continued. “We have introduced more brilliant meat-free alternatives to classic favorites such as our Moq au Vin version of Coq au Vin, a vegan BLT sandwich, a Kickin’ Cauli Katsu Curry, and even our non-dairy Wicked Tiramisu.”

Wicked Kitchen Fuels Global Plant-Based Growth

Between Wicked Kitchen and the plant-based seafood company Good Catch, co-founded by Chad Sarno, the brothers have propelled plant-based production into the future. Current predictions project that the plant-based market is set to reach $162 billion by 2030. From vegan lamb to seafood alternatives, the Sarnos have helped stimulate growth across several previously underdeveloped food categories. The goal is to appeal to all consumers globally as more people wanted plant-based ingredients.

Vegan and vegetarian populations remain relatively small among consumers, meaning that flexitarians are driving the plant-based demand. Approximately 42 percent of consumers can be considered true flexitarians. Flexitarians may not have completely given up meat, but actively incorporate more plant-based options into their diets. The global shift opens a market for Wicked Kitchen to continue its expansion.

Wicked Kitchen just announced that it aims to expand outside of its current distribution channels in the United States and the UK. The company revealed that it will soon make its plant-based products available in Finland and Estonia, looking to reach Thailand soon after. The company’s international efforts come alongside predictions that it intends to grow by 300 percent in the next year, based on 2021 sales.

“As a disruptive plant-based brand in the UK and the US, we are on a mission to improve the lives of humans and animals globally by offering chef-created plant-based foods with a broader appeal,” CEO of Wicked Kitchen Pete Speranza said in a statement. “By launching even more products where we already have a presence and expanding into new markets, we will continue to grow our range of delicious options to help meet the burgeoning demand for variety and flavor in plant-based foods.”

The international expansion will also bring mouthwatering, exciting plant-based products to its existing retail selections within the US and the UK. UK consumers can expect approximately 30 brand new products in 2022. Within the US, the company predicts that product selections will increase by a minimum of 50 percent. The company teased new lupin bean-based ice creams and more.

“Wicked Kitchen is unlike anything else that has come before it in the plant-based space in any market,” Sarno said in a statement. “Wicked offers chef-crafted, mission-driven products created by exclusively vegan chefs and we put taste front and center while offering peace of mind that there are no animal products used, ever.”

The 6 Best Fast Food Chains With Plant-Based Options on the Menu

Fast-food restaurants have finally got the memo that their customer base isn’t just coming through for a burger, fried chicken, or a beef taco. Many now have plant-based foods and are coming up with creative, delicious ways to get more greens on the menu. Here are the 6 best fast-food chains with plant-based options on the menu.

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