There’s no doubt about it, being vegetarian or vegan nowadays is all the rage. This has caused many national producers in the gourmet market to work on developing their products and cater for an ever-increasing growing demand.


This year, we saw it again at the 32nd Salón de Gourmets in Madrid, where we discovered a new range of products that keeps the taste of meat but are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.


It’s becoming more and more common to see certain products replacing others that don’t actually have the same ingredients, and the new ideas presented at this year’s fair are definitely heading in this direction. For example, we saw vegan sausages with nuts and cereals replacing meat; chorizo made from pistachionuts, botifarras (Catalan sausages) with peanuts and burgers made from buckwheat flour or millet and vegetables.


Another interesting variety is pumpkin chorizo. The vegetarian version comes with collagen casing, and the vegan option is 100% pure vegetable, but both are cured and smoked with oak wood to give them a texture and flavour as close to the original chorizo as possible. This is the perfect product for people who are keeping an eye on their weight and health and can be considered a functional food because of the pumpkin’s nutritional properties.


However, these new products are not just for vegans, they’re also a healthier alternative to traditional sausages and extremely appealing for people with food intolerances as they don’t contain gluten, lactose, preservatives or colourings.


Innovation in food is no secret. We even old sweets makers getting in on the act. Remember Burmar Flax, the ice lollies without sticks in the 1980s, well, the same company is now making organic jellies for vegans by replacing animal collagen with agar and adding rice syrups, mango, peach, apple or strawberry juice as sweeteners.


Other sweets are also appearing on the market enriched with calcium and honey, collagen or omega-3, and we’ll soon see others with superfoods like spirulina and turmeric.
Some of the most interesting new products in the world of bread include carpaccio bread and breadsticks with herbs and spice that substitute butter for virgin olive oil, both of which are 100% vegan and organic.


The world of ice cream is also keeping abreast of the changes in the market. In response to the growing number of illnesses linked to eating ice cream, some manufacturers have now created alternatives or vegans, lactose intolerants, diabetics and coeliacs made from fruit and with no artificial additives. We can also find ice cream products that substitute milk for virgin olive oil that’s harvested early and surprisingly creamy, and you can choose from sweet or savoury flavours such as chocolate with hand-harvested sea salt (“fleur de sel”), truffle or cherry tomatoes.


But, what if we feel like snacking on something between meals? Well, we often think of snacks as unhealthy, but now we have an excellent alternative, different flavoured vegetable crisps like broccoli, banana, pineapple or texturised coconut fried in rice bran oil.


We also need wine to accompany all this food, and of course, there are vegan-certified wines that replace the egg white used to clarify the wine with vegetable gelatins.


Whether it’s because of our environmental conscience, health or intolerances, there are now alternatives out there if we want vegan options. All you have to do is start trying these innovative suggestions!