“Use us, or lose us” – Independent vegan businesses at risk of closure

Written by Melissa Watt |

Without a doubt, January 2019 has been an amazing month for veganism. Britain was recently crowned the new vegan capital of the world and it is easy to see why – a record-breaking Veganuary is in full swing. Greggs continuously sells out of its debut vegan sausage roll and McDonald’s introduced a vegan happy meal. These are just a few isolated examples which are a part of a much bigger movement seeking to make veganism more mainstream.

Though this increases the accessibility and visibility of a plant-based lifestyle, it sadly might come at the cost of local, often-family owned vegan companies.

It is more imperative than ever to support independent vegan restaurants, shops and cafes. Whilst it is great that veganism is becoming increasingly normalised, it is important to remember all of the vegan businesses that have been paving the way for this moment for years. They were our first port of call when supermarket and restaurant choices were lacking. It would be a tragedy to abandon them in their time of need.

With many mainstream outlets now offering cheap vegan options, specialist vegan companies are struggling to compete with such low prices. Industry giants are jumping on the bandwagon and capitalising on a popular food trend for their own benefit. Sure, this does wonders for promoting veganism to a wider audience, but it should never put people who are in this for the right reasons out of pocket.

When you support a small vegan business, you are supporting somebody’s livelihood, hard-work, and dedication. You are supporting a valued member of the vegan community who understands your needs and showing appreciation for the hours of time and effort it takes to offer quality products, responsive stocking, and personalised service.

Perhaps more importantly, you are supporting an industry that is entirely cruelty-free, without indirectly funding the meat and dairy industries.

Every time you shop at the supermarket, you are in some way contributing to non-vegan industries. That is not to say we must boycott non-vegan establishments, rather it is to urge consumers to remember the businesses that catered for them when the rest of the world would not. Without them, veganism would not be as accessible as it is today.

Little Green Vegan Bakery, based in St Agnes, struck a chord when it warned customers that you either ‘use us or lose us’. Vegan businesses truly value their customers and every visit, sale, and review they receive. There are so many ways – beyond buying a product – that you can support small businesses: engage with their social media content, recommend them to a friend or simply let them know that you appreciate them.

There are countless vegan businesses in Cornwall. Nearby you can find Fal Falafel, The Cornish Vegan, Archie Brown and The Refill Store. Vegan Events Cornwall regularly hold vegan markets to showcase the very best of local vegan companies. Vegan Cornwall has also compiled a list of local plan-based restaurants.

It is time to give independent vegan businesses the recognition they deserve before it’s too late.