THE vegans have a lot to answer for, don't they? 

If you listened to some of the rhetoric around the Greggs vegan sausage roll when it launched you'd think the vegans were responsible for the end of days.

I said it at the time, and I say it again now, I am only grateful to the folk who choose to eschew cheese for the good of the rest of humanity. It means I can eat their portion, so hats off to them.

Some of the meat and dairy alternatives on supermarket shelves leave a lot to be desired though. 

I see a lot of TikTok videos of people making seitan - a doughy meat substitute made from vital wheat gluten - and you just wonder who on earth has the time. Vegan bacon leaves me with suspicions. Fake cheddar made from coconut oil and potato starch? Hard pass.

And that's all before we get to the milks. Or, sorry, the mylks. While milk alternatives are better for your carbon footprint than dairy, almond milk is still bad for the planet and terrible for bees. Coconut milk is responsible for the exploitation of workers in India, the Philippines and Indonesia, as well as the destruction of rainforests.

Rice milk guzzles water. Soy and oat aren't so bad but have you tried pea milk? Yes, pea milk.

Good luck to the marketing teams responsible for punting pea milk - come on, it hardly sounds appetising, does it? - but it's high in protein and a good source of iron. It's not too strenuous on the environment either. 

It's hard to take against the peas. We have peas on our allotment and they are glorious creatures. They creep and climb and bud and flower with purple and white butterfly petals. For months we have mangetout and snap peas and shell peas at every meal, trying to work through the glut.

We never milk them, though. A foray too far. 

Peas, this surprises some people, are an excellent source of protein. They are packed with nutrients and fibre. 'Mon the peas. 

As well as being the great green hope of the alternative milk market, peas are the potential future hero of plant-based food. 

Our diets have a huge environmental impact: food production causes about 35 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions and meat is responsible for more than twice the pollution generated by vegetables, fruits and grains. 

Consumers know this and the market for meat alternatives is growing by around 30% a year. It's a 40% per year increase for cheese alternatives (I would just not eat cheese) and 50% for the aforementioned dairy-free milk. 

Soya beans are used for a lot of vegan food products, such as non-meat burgers, but importing soya beans has a negative environmental effect. A home-grown, environmentally friendly alternative? Peas.

The upsides are many. The downsides? Apparently fussy British consumers don't like the taste of peas. 

Apparently, around 30 years ago, scientists discovered the gene that gives peas their flavour. It was an interesting but completely useless discovery. Until now. 

In order to appease shoppers, scientists have figured out a way to grow flavourless peas that can be used as a meat substitute in recipes without anyone knowing.

The UK imports four million tonnes of soya a year for food and animal feed but the majority of it comes from South America where soya production has been linked to destruction of rainforests.

Despite the health benefits and the environmental benefits of switching to peas as an alternative meat-free food source, folk won't do it because they don't like the taste. Manufacturers of pea protein powder have said that customers are put off by their childhood memories of eating peas. 

The new pea varieties will also be easier to harvest and higher in protein. You can't help but be a little embarrassed that scientific resources are being diverted into growing Frankenpeas to soothe picky palates, because apparently we're a nation of big babies who otherwise won't eat our greens.

Ok, it's not always easy being green but, er, at least give peas a chance.