The UK's first all-vegan bakery is shutting down - and the growing availability of plant-based options on the high street has been cited as a factor.
Ms. Cupcake was founded in 2010 by Mellissa Morgan, first as a market stall, then one year later as a shop in Brixton.
In an Instagram post discussing the closure, Morgan writes that in the beginning, Ms. Cupcake had one big goal - to 'bring vegan baking to the high street and help spread the word that cruelty-free can be delicious'.
'Veganism is big business'
The statement adds: "Over the last couple of years veganism has become big business in the UK. For years we have begged for vegan products to be readily available on the high-street – and guess what? We now have that. Countless animals have been spared because mainstream retailers have finally seen the value in offering vegan items on the menu.
"Now you can find vegan cakes in pretty much every high street and supermarket across London. This is a good thing! However, with our continued rent raises, soaring expenses and the fact that mainstream retailers are able to mass-produce vegan products at a lower cost – we have decided it is now time to close our doors."
Morgan thanked her team, friends, families, stockists and customers for their support over the last decade, before adding: "Here at Ms. Cupcake, we remind ourselves that this is what we WANTED to see happen. We wanted veganism to be so widespread that vegan baking could be found anywhere – not just in a tiny independent vegan bakery in Brixton."
She added that the venture may pop up again in the future - and to 'watch this space', and also that she will now have time to put pen to paper and write a second cookbook.
Matt Turner, spokesperson for The Vegan Society, told Plant Based News that while the growing availability of plant-based options is positive, the downside is that specialist producers may be unable to compete with bigger businesses.
He added: "As a business, Ms. Cupcake has always been incredibly supportive of The Vegan Society. The whole team was saddened by this news and Ms. Cupcake will be greatly missed by the society and undoubtedly the wider vegan community.
"There is no denying that the greater availability of what were once specialist vegan products can have an impact on small businesses. While it’s a positive thing that you can find vegan cake up and down the high street now, it’s also incredibly sad to see the end of such a fantastic business.
"As the UK's first entirely vegan bakery, Ms Cupcake can be proud knowing that they were early pioneers of something that is now adopted so widely. They paved the way for others to follow and in doing so, contributed massively to the movement against animal exploitation. They will be missed!"
Ms. Cupcake will close down on March 29, 2020. You can visit the shop until then, or visit the Ms. Cupcake stall at Vegan Life Live on March 14-15.