This January, we took some of our favourite vegan brands on a grand tour of independent health food shops. Here’s what happened on our travels.
Veganuary & One Planet Pizza took to the road, visiting 16 independent health food shops throughout January. Image: Veganuary Instagram (@weareveganuary)
Veganism first began gaining traction and recognition in the UK via the work of our incredible independent heath shops. These important pillars in healthy living communities are the roots of the vegan movement in the UK, whose owners are as knowledgeable as they are passionate about plant-based diets. And whilst January bought us exciting new product launch after exciting new product launch in our main big five supermarkets, Veganuary believes we can’t afford to forget about smaller, independent retailers when it comes to supporting veganism as a whole.
Sparking Inspiration Through Communities
To achieve our dream of sparking excitement and inspiration within the communities surrounding independent health food shops, Veganuary joined forces with the hard-working team at One Planet Pizza (the brand behind the UK’s first vegan frozen pizza) and the NAHS (a trade association aiming to promote and protect specialist health stores). With the help of One Planet Pizza, we filled a delivery van full of delicious free samples from some of our favourite brands; Tideford Organics, Pulsin, Booja Booja, Follow Your Heart and One Planet Pizza.
Our mission: to personalise and promote Veganuary within local communities, showcasing our independent health food stores as the shining beacons of veganism that they are. Needless to say we achieved this, and so much more! Our visitors were excited to see Veganuary out and about, helping encourage people to try veganism in person, whilst supporting their high street.
“It’s great to shop locally because you’re supporting local businesses. They’re really supportive and friendly and it’s better for the planet to buy local!”
Ash – Food For Thought customer, Kingston
“Independent shops and brands are a really important part of the community. I love coming to places and events like this, as I can find all of my vegan options and there’s a community feeling about it all.”
Marcy – As Nature Intended customer, Cheswick.
Starting Important Conversations
Our samples acted as a means by which we could share important conversations between customers and shop staff. We helped shoppers recognise the importance of buying locally, establishing relationships between independent vegan businesses and new Veganuary pledges. Joe Hill, the incredibly driven Co-Director of One Planet Pizza, fronted all of our sampling demonstrations:
“It was incredibly heart-warming to see everyone coming together over food and drink throughout the Road Trip. As the landscape of modern society is changing and people are becoming less physically connected, this felt more important and exciting than ever.”
“I was lucky enough to see 16 passionate store owners across the country welcoming over 2,000 people through their doors to ultimately improve their lives through health and diet. This mutually beneficial relationship was evident to me at every stop; store owners care about their customers and their customers trust and value them back.”
Tour Shops Share Passion For Veganuary
We loved seeing how passionately each one of the independent shops on our tour got behind Veganuary, with some incredible window displays to be seen all around the UK. Each store became a go-to venue within its local area for all things healthy and plant-based this January. At every event, the hosting shop was enthusiastic, encouraging and interactive with visitors. From general vegan advice to tailor-made product recommendations, Veganuary witnessed the beginning of many lasting customer-owner relationships, as bonds were made over slices of pizza and scoops of ice cream.
“A big Friendly Foods hug and thanks to all at Veganuary and One Planet Pizza for visiting us on the 2019 Road Trip. We’ve had great feedback on all the products from customers new and old. Great vegan products combined with great customer experience is what independent vegan shops are all about and we are very grateful for the support.”
Scott, Manager of Friendly Foods, Wolverhampton.
Veganuary’s 2019 Road Trip was one to remember for all involved, and we can’t wait to do it all over again soon! In the meantime, we would encourage any vegan to track down your nearest independent health food store! You’ll be overwhelmed by the incredible product selection, and educated by the owner’s knowledge. All the while, you’re investing into someone’s dream business by buying locally – and that’s something truly magical and unique which comes about by choosing independent.