You are here

The vegans are taking over!

We appear to be witnessing an exponential growth in the availability of vegan options in cafes, restaurants and coffee shops across the country!

As a vegan I have low expectations of finding anything to eat in high street coffee shops except possibly a small bag of crisps or nuts

We appear to be witnessing an exponential growth in the availability of vegan options in cafes, restaurants and coffee shops across the country!

As a vegan I have low expectations of finding anything to eat in high street coffee shops except possibly a small bag of crisps or nuts… That’s all changing with the arrival of Starbucks’ new addition, the Christmas Veggie Feast Flatbread, the Christmassy  Crimbo Crumble bar at Costa and Caffè Nero's new Luxury Mince Pies! 

In October food company Quorn launched two new vegan lines – Hot & Spicy Burgers and Meat Free Pieces.  Viva! have been writing to Quorn for a number of years and are delighted to see an egg-free vegan range available from Waitrose, Asda and Ocado…

Also this year we have seen the arrival of vegan meatballs at Ikea. Viva! supporters leant valuable support to our email campaign on this.  

Then there’s another new vegan mayonnaise, this one is called Follow Your Heart Vegenaise and it is available in health food shops…

In July of this year, CEO of Pret A Manger, Clive Schlee, floated the idea of opening vegetarian branches of the popular food chain. “Sales of our vegetarian sandwiches and salads have grown 12.5 per cent in the last six months - faster than our meaty products” said Schlee. Writing on his blog Schlee said the vegetarian SuperBowl salad has become more popular than the chicken, salmon and crayfish alternatives. He announced on the Pret blog that the company was discussing opening exclusively plant-based shops!  I’ve popped into a branch several times since July and always been able to find a vegan wrap or sandwich!

In a recent interview with vegan free-runner Timothy ‘Livewire’ Shieff, Jamie Oliver said “the future is about a plant-based diet” (11 mins 45 seconds). Much of the interview was about how Jamie is moving towards veggie and vegan cooking and how he hopes to encourage people to eat less meat. This is to be applauded, but only if it is implemented across his food empire!

I am delighted to say his new menu in Jamie’s Italian in Bristol contains not one, not two but six dishes that can be made vegan. You can choose from Roasted Squash Bruschetta, Turbo Penne Arrabbiata, Veggie Tagliatelle, Wild Mushroom & Winter Greens Risotto, Harrisa-Spiced Aubergine and JI Super Food Salad… about time! We’ve been writing to Jamie’s since March and not really had a satisfactory response but can’t help thinking encouragement from Viva! (and Jamie’s buddy Tim Shieff) may have contributed to this new development…

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield has announced that they would be launching a new range of dairy-free ice creams using almond milk. They said: “In the US there are (dairy-free) alternatives from smaller companies but Ben & Jerry’s will be first mainstream company that will do that and will also do it in a really delicious way.” Dairy-free Ben & Jerry’s will be available in the US in spring next year (2016) and a little later in the UK.

Finally, Guinness have just announced they are going vegan next year when they will stop using isinglass (a gelatine-like substance derived from the dried swim bladders of fish), as part of its filtration process.

No more excuses… it’s easy to be vegan!