Food lovers make the most of Vegfest Brighton
Could this be an ideal platform to launch healthy food products?
I had the opportunity to attend Vegfest, Europe’s largest vegan food festival, which took place in Brighton at the end of March. I was working for a client who had a stand there for the whole weekend.
As a non-vegan but a lover of all plant-based products, I was not too sure what to expect.
As I made my entrance into the main hall, I was warmly greeted by the Vegfest team who, I must say, did a great job in organising this busy event.
That area was dedicated to the Hemp Expo, the kids area and the performance area. Upstairs, you could find the majority of the exhibitors’ stands, the food village, the comedy area, the cookery demonstration area and much more.
The first day, 8,000 visitors came to the event. The place was buzzing with people from all walks of life. Surprisingly, there was a good mix of people with the majority, of course, being vegans and vegetarians. The Vegfest Express has published the result of their visitor survey which makes interesting reading. 49.54% of visitors came for the food available. 48% of visitors came for the first time. You can find the complete survey results here.
In terms of the food availability, there was a mix of products from cakes, condiments, superfoods, snacks etc…and many food stalls serving hot vegan food. There was a sort of indoor picnic atmosphere with people sitting on the floor to eat their lunch due to a lack of tables and chairs.
One exhibitor caught my attention with a stand pilled up with enormous cakes which seemed to sell very quickly.
I also met a company called ¡Cho!, a supplier of Gazpacho in a bottle. This was a very tasty healthy product.
Although the vegan diet is believed to be good for you due to the large consumption of plant-based products involved, some of the product substitutes are not ideal. As a nutritional therapist in training, I am concerned by the amount of vegetable fat used in some products such as mayonnaise, cheese, vegan meats etc… If consumed in moderation I believe it should be ok as long as people consume large amounts of vegetables and moderate amount of fruit. The majority of products also contain wheat which is not suitable for anyone intolerant to wheat or suffering from coeliac disease.
So is Vegfest the right platform to promote healthy products? If the vegan products on offer happen to be healthy, this is definitely a bonus. But in my opinion the majority of people decide to go vegan for ethical reasons mainly, not necessarily for health reasons.
However, this is my view only. I would love to hear comments about the health aspect of veganism. Are people concerned about this aspect in any way?