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How to profit from Veganuary

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Food stores and restaurants are jumping on the vegan bandwagon and with the Veganuary trend predicted to continue, here are four ways investors may be able to profit.

Vegans have more choice than ever when it comes to meeting their dietary requirements in supermarkets, fast food outlets and restaurants.

Almost a quarter of food products launched last year were vegan, catering for the 1% of the UK’s population who are vegan.

Even Greggs, known for its sausage rolls, managed to boost its profits by offering vegan dishes.

And with more people wanting to try vegan food and participating in ‘Veganuary’ – or vegan January, there are plenty of opportunities for investors to gain exposure to this emerging trend. But finding a pure vegan company is difficult.

Laura Suter, personal finance analyst at investment platform AJ Bell, said: “Everyone from KFC, to Burger King and most supermarkets are now offering vegan foods, but investing in pure vegan companies is pretty tricky, as most that offer vegan food and meat substitutes also have a much bigger business in meat-based food.

“Investors hunting for vegan plays immediately think of US firm Beyond Meat, which produces plant-based meat substitutes. It saw its share price soar by 900% at its peak. But it’s a rarity to find a firm 100% focused on veganism and vegetarianism.”

She said that some big listed companies are getting on the vegan act, including Premier Foods, which has a new plant-based range called Plantastic, while consumer goods giant Unilever has various vegan brands and products.

“In more niche areas, make-up brand Warpaint has a vegan line of cosmetics, while Science in Sport makes plant-based protein and supplements. However, these companies have much larger business lines – and revenues – from non-vegan products,” Suter said.

Below she lists four ways to invest in the vegan boom:

Securities Trust of Scotland: This investment trust focuses on investing in companies with strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies, with manager Mark Whitehead saying he wants to invest in firms that are a ‘force for good’. Holdings include Danone, flavouring brand International Flavours & Fragrances and nutrition and health company DSM, which are all set to benefit from more people eating meat substitutes.

Sarasin Food & Agriculture Opportunities: Managed by Henry Boucher and Jeneiv Shah, this fund focuses on a number of ESG companies, with veganism included in this as a way to solve certain ethical dilemmas, such as animal cruelty, climate change and human health. Dutch-listed life science company DSM works on a product to make vegan food tastier, as well as working to reduce emissions from dairy farming.

Greggs: The nation was gripped with vegan sausage roll fever last year when the fast-food brand launched its first vegan offering. It followed this up with a vegan steak bake this year and has plans for vegan doughnuts, among other launches. Chief executive Roger Whiteside said the vegan sausage roll helped the firm to have a ‘phenomenal’ 2019. A word of warning, many investors have spotted this trend so the share price and current valuation leaves no room for disappointment.

Kerry: This Irish food producer has the potential to benefit from more producers moving into vegan products. The London-listed firm is an ingredients business, and could profit as more producers look to make the next wave of vegan products tastier and appeal to a wider audience. It has also launched vegan products in its existing businesses, such as vegan sausages under the Richmond brand.

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