Manchester has been ranked as the second most vegan-friendly city in the UK, according to new research by LNER.
Between 2021 and 2023 Manchester saw a surge in demand for vegan eateries, with an increase in online searches of 84%.
The city scored 64.9 out of 100 for vegan-friendliness, and ranks second to only Brighton (86.9).
Manchester-based Charity worker Emma Mulholland has been vegan for nearly seven years and stated that she has seen a growth in the city’s vegan-scene in that time.
“I think we’re really lucky where we are, especially now in 2024, because when I became vegan in 2017 in the city centre I think there was literally just Little Aladdin and V Rev,” she said.
“But now there’s so many – there’s the Allotment, there’s Vegan Shack – and pretty much every restaurant has a vegan option.”
Veganism across the UK is continuing to rise, with the average number of searches for vegan restaurants increasing by 82% since 2021.
“With increased awareness of the environmental catastrophe that’s going on, I think maybe people are looking to make more ethical choices in their life and obviously with eating meat comes a huge environmental impact,” Emma said.
“I also think because there maybe are more vegans around people are naturally just trying more vegan food because people in their social networks are making it, and also because more restaurants have vegan options, I think people are naturally curious and try it.”
The number of restaurants offering vegan food has also increased, and now Manchester offers 5.6 vegan restaurants and 5.6 vegan takeaways per 100,000 residents.
“I think what’s good about living here is that it’s not just burgers and chips – we’ve got a vegan asian inspired restaurant, we’ve got vegan Indian places – so I think giving people all of those options is amazing and something Manchester does really well,” Emma said.
“Because we’re a big city and there’s such a big restaurant scene here we are really lucky that there are so many options.”
One of Manchesters many vegan eateries is Eighth Day cafe, based on Oxford Road, which also offers a plant-based health food shop.
Eighth Day opened in 1970, offering vegetarian options – but has gone completely vegan in the last 18 months.
“Manchester is one of my favourite cities and when I come home to Manchester there’s vegan everywhere which is amazing,” Co-op member Alfie Austin said.
“I think people are really keen here to get behind it and even if you’re not vegan I think people are really keen to try it.”
But while there has been an increase in vegan eateries, some independent vegan businesses in Manchester are being forced to close across the city centre due to rises in energy bills and rent.
“It’s definitely harder without a chunk of money behind you in the first place, you’re kind of relying on the people coming through the door and supporting you,” Alfie said.
“The hope is that we can just survive essentially, it’s quite tough and we are battling every day – and I think we shouldn’t be shy about talking about that.”