There are a LOT of hungry vegans out there these days, roaming high streets and shopping malls in search of decent food.
Once we had to be satisfied with chips and beans, or salad and dry bread, but those days are thankfully long gone.
Now, we want a choice of meals, all delicious and flavourful, and no, we don’t count fruit salad as a pudding.
Things are improving. So many high street chains and independent restaurants now offer a vegan option, and some have a pretty good range to choose from, but we’re never satisfied, are we? We want more. And we know that most restaurants and cafés could do better with just a few small changes. It might be their vegetable tagine is already vegan, but they have never thought to let people know. It could be a simple matter of offering cheese as optional rather than adding it to the risotto. Or leaving honey out of the dressing and putting maple syrup in.
Little things like that make us very happy.
To try to help outlets attract the vegan pound, The Humane League UK and Veganuary have teamed up with the amazing Chef Day to produce a catering guide for restaurants that shows how they can maximise their vegan offerings, and how we – in return – will promote their business if they do.
The guide starts with the basics – a definition of what is vegan and what is not, and describes some simple substitutions they can make to veganise a veggie or meat dish quite easily. It covers cross-contamination, as well as some ideas for dishes that are popular with vegans, and can be added to their menu. We’ve even thrown in some amazing recipes to get them started.
As part of our commitment to improve vegan options, we are also giving away window stickers for the cafés/restaurants to display – an easy way for passing vegans or vegan-curious customers to know that they can be easily catered for.
You can also help your local cafe or restaurant by letting them know how you feel about their vegan options (or lack of!). We have two varieties; a ‘Thank you for your vegan options!’ card, for use when you have been happy, and an ‘I wish you had more vegan options!’ card, for use when you weren’t happy. The latter card has our email address so they can get in touch with us to get their free catering pack – the first step towards improving their vegan options.
So if your local restaurant could use a nudge in the right direction, download a copy and take it to them. Remember to deliver it with a smile, and if they offer a vegan meal, give it a go!
Or, if you’d like to join the team of volunteers working with restaurants to introduce more vegan options contact Emma Goddard on [email protected] to find out more about how you can help.
Here’s to more cafés and restaurants offering amazing vegan food!