Ditching meat for plant-based foods: The growing appeal of a vegan diet in Singapore

There are communities on social media for support, more awareness on the dietary option and more eateries and supermarkets offering plant-based options, she said.


Among the businesses catering to the increasing number of people looking for alternatives to meat and animal-derived products is Everyday Vegan Grocer.

The supermarket, which also has a deli, opened in November 2020 and currently occupies a two-storey shophouse on Haji Lane.

Owner Amanda Lee said she started it so people could shop for vegan products without having to go through the tedious process of checking ingredients in traditional shops. 

Sometimes they may discover a possible animal-based ingredient in the products when they get home from shopping and feel disappointed with themselves, she said. 

“That’s why most people actually fall off the bandwagon. They feel that there are so many things to think about … it shouldn’t be so difficult,” she said. 

The 34-year-old is familiar with these issues. She started her journey into veganism about 10 years ago, taking two to three years to completely stop eating animal-derived items.

She wanted to give people the kind of access to vegan options and prices that she didn’t have during her journey, she said. 

For instance, among the offerings at the store are vegan burgers that cost S$5.

“We wanted a food menu that would appeal to everyone taste-wise and price-wise, so everyone can try vegan and choose kindness. Even if it’s just one meal a week,” she said. 

Big companies have also taken to catering to vegans. Cruise operator Royal Caribbean International and airline Emirates, for instance, offer vegan menus.

In July this year, Emirates started offering vegan options in its inflight menu for outbound flights from Singapore and in August, did the same for inbound flights to Singapore. 

“Demand for plant-based food offerings on our airlines has increased significantly in the last decade,” said Mr Rashid Al Ardha, the carrier’s country manager for Singapore and Brunei.

He noted that there is a particular increase in demand during Veganuary, a global movement encouraging a vegan diet that runs in January every year. 

In 2021, Emirates served up to 10 per cent more vegan meals across all its flights in January than in other months. 

The demand for vegan food on its ships has been increasing, said Royal Caribbean International’s food and beverage director Francis Dias. 

It serves about 90 vegan meals a day in the main dining room of Spectrum of the Seas, which is currently home-ported in Singapore. The dining room seats more than 1,800 guests.

In comparison, when the firm first rolled out its vegan offerings in 2019, there were just “a few orders” for vegan dishes in a day, he said.

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