What a great show it was. There are some amazing options out there - milks, magazines, marshmallows and much in between, from a new generation of merchants who are innovative and more in-tune with the demands of the modern vegan. A quick survey among returning exhibitors confirmed what our instincts told us as we surveyed the queues at each stand: numbers of visitors were definitely up on last year. So, extraveganzans, we are slowly growing in numbers and strength...
This show was a great treat for both of us - options and alternatives that are Extra and Vegan friendly, and a testament to the exciting, new things happening in the UK.
Now for our top picks of the show ...
We are so glad this trend has come to the UK. Make your own box of treats or opt for an in-house creation, with a rolling subscription or buy-as-you-go. What set this company apart from competitors are the larger goody boxes you get (= more treats) and a range of products that we genuinely have never seen before in shops (and you know we’ve seen a lot!) If you find yourself always resorting to syrupy snacks at your desk, then just order in the Vegan Box, or for your dairy-allergic child there’s the Youth Box too.
Extra loved this non-profit and found a kindred spirit in Pete, co-Founder of Part-Time Carnivore. This movement starts with an online pledge to have meatless days in your week, and connects you with other Part-Time Carnivore teams. You can create your own group, or join with others, all around the world. Currently, there are 2656 members who have pledged in 37 teams worldwide, making efforts to reduce meat consumption not only better for the environment, but also a friendly competition. It’s a fun accessible website that you should shove in the face of all your meat-eating non-vegan-believers!
Now we think pizza is just about the hardest AFP food item to get right. Where is the cheese that doesn’t taste like styrofoam? And we often crave a hot slice of margherita pizza, dripping in cheese. So when we stumbled on this stall, with not only that but also a base that is gluten free too, well, let’s just say there weren’t many samples left when we finally walked away from the table! We love these people, and the only problem we see is the pounds we'll be putting on. All the team were super-friendly and passionate about their product so it was a nice place to hide when the crowds got to us. Didn’t hurt that their product was quite so fantastic.
There's a new baker on the block! Fun and sweet, and that’s just Trina! Her cupcakes and cakes (including gluten-free options) are made-to-order in her kitchen in Brixton (you can track her and her cakes down every Saturday morning in Brixton market). These cakes have lots of delicate flavours and delicious jam-filled centres. Totally yummy for your tummy. We still love you Ms Cupcake, but wow is there some Brixton competition!
Thank you for cooking, Amy! And thank you for now selling your products in the UK (available online, or in Wholefoods, Planet Organic and Tesco from September)!
Ready meals for a lazy night in: get in your pjs and scoff down our favourite, Chinese noodles & veggies in a creamy cashew sauce. Although, don't think that the others weren't a close second. These ready meals have all the naughty comfort food feeling you want, and they're vegan. We're sure you'll be popping down to Planet Organic to try the vegan burger and Spanish stew.
Since our mantra is 'Free from. It's simple.' We really enjoyed the opportunity to meet and eat with people who want the same thing for themselves and their lives.
We're in danger of sounding like He-Man at the end of a cartoon, but Extra and Vegan passionately think that any opportunity for APF people to hang out and share ideas is a good thing. Sharing really is caring! So, let us know what you’re favourites were, and we'll be back next year...maybe with our very own stand! Oh, and while you’re here, and thinking along these lines, we came across this clever video by Steve Cutts. Have a watch!.It’s worth it, even for the Extra. It’s probably everything a vegan has thought about humanity and the environment in one 3-minute video!