With January comes Veganuary. The campaign encourages the public to go vegan for a month. And it seems that more and more people switch to a plant-based diet for good. According to a study from the Vegan Society, there are now 600,000 vegans in Great Britain.
Many companies have had to rethink their products and offers to be more inclusive of a growing market. And the events industry is no exception. So, how can event professionals deliver vegan-friendly events? Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind is catering. But you’ll see that there are many more elements to consider. In this blog, we give you 5 tips to make your event vegan-friendly.
1) The obvious: choose vegan catering
It may be obvious but the starting point to make your event vegan-friendly is to offer vegan catering. Plant-based items on the menu should be clearly labelled as such. And if they carry a vegan trademark, that’s even better as this means an independent organisation will have assessed the venue’s catering practices and ingredients. This will reinforce the trust of your delegates that they can dine in complete confidence. At Friends House, plant-based food items all carry the Vegetarian Society Approved vegan trademark. This means that they are free from animal-derived ingredients and GMOs. There was no cross-contamination during production and no animal testing was carried out or commissioned.
2) The less obvious: variety is key
Too often vegan catering at events boils down to hummus or dips with crudities and wraps. There’s (fortunately) much more to it. Have a close look at the menu and plant-based options offered by the venue. Sandwiches, wraps, mains, salads, desserts should all include at least one vegan option each. This is what we offer at Friends House. For example, in our Wellbeing Lunch delegates can choose between Mexican tofu, black bean and tomato salsa in a tomato-onion roll, a green wellbeing salad with a nut-free green pesto, a three tomato salad, and a vegetable crudities platter with dips prepared fresh on the day by our chefs.
3) Choose a venue promoting sustainable catering
As part of their sustainability policy, many venues are now promoting healthier catering options. They’re also starting to rebalance the amount of meat and animal products in their catering menus. You’ll want to find a venue that is proactive on these issues. The catering team at Friends House has been working on the matter and they’ve managed to reduce the amount of meat, fish, cheese, and eggs in all our menus. At a minimum, our menus are 40% vegetarian and vegan. They’ve also launched the Wellbeing Lunch, where the food and drinks provided follow Public Health England's Eatwell Guide. In October 2019, we also opened our vegetarian and vegan restaurant: Seed Kitchen. Our team of chefs uses locally-sourced, seasonal and organic ingredients, where possible.
4) Look at the venue’s green credentials
An increasing number of people follow a plant-based diet as a response to climate change. Asking for a venue’s green credentials is then essential. A sustainability and CSR policy with measurable achievements is a good start. Accreditations are even better as they are a good way to assess the commitment of a venue to sustainability. In July 2019, Green Tourism awarded its highest level of accreditation to Friends House. As a Green Tourism Gold accredited venue, we were assessed on areas such as energy-saving, water issues, purchasing, waste minimisation and more.
5) Look beyond the plate
For many, veganism doesn’t stop at the plate. They also don’t purchase or use products tested on animals or containing animal-derived ingredients. This can be anything such as clothes, cosmetics or household products. How does this translate to organising a vegan-friendly event? For example, ask the venue which types of hand-wash and creams are available in the bathrooms. At Friends House, we’ve switched to vegan and cruelty-free ones. This ensures that everybody can use our products.
6) Bonus: choose Friends House!
Call us to organise your vegan friendly-event! Our Sales and Events team will be able to assist you and go through all your requirements. Call 020 7663 1100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.