Yesterday I went to VegFest London 2017. It was great. I walked like crazy, I spent more money than I should have and I learnt tons.
I had planned a long post about all the new and impressive products I discovered. But the truth is, I didn’t really discover anything new.
Don’t get me wrong. There were some amazing products: leaf leather, tigernut Irish cream, savoury energy bars, marshmallows that toast and melt, and I ate so much vegan cheese I probably covered my yearly quota. I had some made from cashews, almonds, soya, coconut oil, tofu, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts and I won’t even get started with the variety of flavours and textures. I could go on and on.
The things is, there isn’t really anything new. It’s all been done.
Vegan chicken? Check
Vegan pork sausages? Check
Vegan pizza cheese? Check
Vegan alcohol? Check
Vegan eggs? Also check
Vegan sweeties? Massive check
Being vegan is so incredibly easy right now, right? There’s everything any foodie would ever want. And more!
Then why is it that I still have to prepare my lunch and take it to work every single day unless I want to be stuck with a hummus wrap day in and day out? Why is it that my chocolate bar options are limited to dark chocolate? Why is it that if I go to a cafe the only thing I can eat is crisps?
It’s because we are still a very very very small minority of people. About 1% of the UK is vegan. It’s very easy to get caught up in the blogging world, and YouTube and Instagram and believe that the whole world is turning vegan. It’s not. Most people eat crap, and most of that crap comes from animals. We are stuck in an echo chamber where all we hear is ‘vegan’, ‘vegan’ and more ‘vegan’.
And this is the difference I saw this year in VegFest. We are slowly starting to realise it’s not about us and our perfect grilled cheese, we’re starting to move away from the selfishness and realising there is more than me or you, it’s about them: animals, environment, people, the future of our children, that there is a whole world of people out there who don’t even know what a vegan is and we should do something about it.
This year there were less cooking demonstrations and more talks on sustainability, healthy eating and activism. There were less ice-cream stands and more eco-friendly products.
Veganism is growing up, we aren’t little kids with a small group of close friends anymore, we can’t be teens who think the world is out to get us, our friends are getting married and having kids and getting corporate jobs. It’s finally time we start shifting the emphasis from us to others.
If this year’s VegFest is anything to go by, the trend has started. Now let’s hope it continues.