After launching one of the most successful initiatives the UK vegan movement has ever seen, Veganuary has shown itself to be a force to be reckoned with.
In 2017, the charity - which encourages people to go vegan for the month of January - helped more than 59,500 people to try veganism.
Whilst we all know that this is the first step in increasing the number of vegans, there are crucial factors that can encourage the class of '17 to stay vegan.
One such factor is the availability of vegan food in restaurants and cafés.
Now Veganuary has teamed up with The Humane League UK to create its new Vegan Catering Pack.
Living in my very vegan London bubble, I can eat easily, but my recent trip to the Midlands was a stark reminder that the rest of the country has some way to go.
I was happy to have hummus and olives on that one occasion, but would quickly find the desolate landscape of vegan fare that makes up our catering industry extremely frustrating.
In 1995, I became vegan in the ex-mining town of Barnsley. It is a charming friendly town with a beautiful accent, but no options for herbivores whatsoever. Apart from a chip butty. Without butter.
Needless to say, I learnt to cook - and quickly! Options have improved greatly since that time, but we still have a fair way to go.
Even though you may be an awesome vegan home cook, we all still want to eat out occasionally.
Many of us have been labeled ‘awkward’ or ‘difficult’ by friends and family.
To visit a restaurant where you spend 20 minutes with a confused waiter trying to decipher if you can eat anything more than chips, only adds to these misguided suppositions.
The free catering guide takes chefs and restaurateurs through vegan food step-by-step clearly explaining what is and isn't vegan fare.
Menu suggestions, guidance on cross contamination, and an extensive cookbook gives establishments everything they need.
The forward-thinking charities have also given eateries the ability to shout about how vegan friendly they are.
They are given a Veganuary/Humane League sticker to proudly display in their window, a symbol that is easily recognisable to any UK vegan.
You, the customer, are also invited to help with this campaign. You can grab some handy cards to have your say, which you can find here.
The cards tell the restaurant that their vegan options were appreciated. If they have none, or a sad display of them, you can leave the must-try-harder card which gives details of the Veganuary catering guide.
Day Radley is a vegan private chef and food writer working in London. She recently launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to produce the pilot episode of a plant-based cookery show Just Good Food. You can find out more about her work here
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.
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