Now we all heard about veganisum in January. Veganuary was a big push in the food industry to promote Vegan menus, and get people to try vegan food who may not have done so before. A lot of my fellow bloggers have had great fun going out and reporting on special menus and events locally. Emily from Drained Beauty, visited the new Laura Ashley tearoom to try their Vegan Afternoon tea. Where as Lizzie Bee went to The Cosy club for an evening meal. Earlsdon based Street collaborated with Beer Gonzo (yes even the beer was vegan!) to create a special Vegan night of Asian fusion and beer which looked awesome!
Other places such as Wagamamas offer permanent vegan menus, but most places now will offer one or two items on their menus for those vegans amount us. There are a couple of brilliant Vegan Cafes in Coventry that cannot go unmentioned. Both Over by FarGo Village. First is The Pod, run by the council as a community project, they have been named by The Guardian as one of the best Vegan cafes in the country.
Totally Vegan is a lovely little cafe inside a small unit in FarGo Village, offering uncomplicated food at reasonable prices, and is open everyday.
Even Greggs got in on the Vegan-mania in January with their controversial “vegan Sausage Roll”. There was a fabulous competition locally where local businesses competed with their own versions. Backhaus&Co, also from FarGo Village, and run by the wonderful Jess, won the crown, and always offers vegan treats!
Now I must admit, I am no a vegan or even a vegetarian. I didn’t go to any of the events last month, but with the possibility of Brexit, veganism is billed to be on the rise. I thought I’d do a little bit of investigation to see what we might expect if Brexit happens.
We currently import about 43% of our pork products from Europe. And 25% of our beef comes from elsewhere. While we have a strong Poultry market, EU workers maybe forced to leave, and standards may drop as MegaFarms are already being talked about. Prices will inevitable rise and we will be flooded by substandard imports from parts of the world such as Thailand where the quality of life for both animals and workers is low.
It could mean we get more of our food imported from the east, Africa and the Americas. The loosening of food regulations set by the EU could mean more GM foods will become available, and food such as Tofu could drop in price. And with the Asian population in Coventry being approximately 16%, not including the students, we have a good selection of oriental supermarkets, as well as stalls in the market offering a plethora of options already available.
But of course with imports coming from further afield, of course the price will be the environment. Everyone is concerned with Air miles and carbon footprints, has to be weighed up accordingly.
I do feel that the recent years of grow-your-own trends will be well used over the next few years, and although few will get to the self sustained extreme, those that Already buy local, and buy British will hopefully be less affected by the changes then others. I personally try to buy British, but am always tempted by cured meats, out of season fruit, and beer from Europe.
Generally I think we could all eat less meat, our society has changed from one where meat was a luxury, to one where Meat is part of every meal, and a staple. I think that it will do our health a lot of good in general if we look at alternate forms of protein for at least some of our meals.
While working as a food technician at Coventry University last year, I worked closely with Nutrition and Dietetic students in the training kitchens, and found that there is a big lean towards meat replacement in the scientific approach of Nutritionist. I found it fascinating viewing food from the angle of calorific, health benefits and person specific point of view. I have generally as a cook, and as a food professional generally thought of it more by flavour, texture and presentability. It is really interesting to think of how food affects your body, what you actually need to eat to create a healthy body for you, and how spoilt as a culture we are. Now I’m not going to go all sci-fi on you and suggest we all need to start having Food pills, but maybe we should all think a bit more about what we really need to survive, to power ourselves.
One aspect of veganism that affects our everyday life that I hadn’t realised till recently, is the substitutions that have slipped into our everyday eating. The removal of eggs and wheat flour from alot of baked goods, to be replaced with nuts, and oils. The dairy substitutions that are readily available in all major supermarkets and coffee shops across the country. But not many of these are made in the UK. Whereas the dairy in the UK can be pretty much be self sufficient. But we do import a lot of butter, yoghurt and cheese from the EU. These products may see a sharp rise in price compared the the substitutions.
So over all I do think that a leaning towards more vegan products maybe on the horizon, with the price of meat and dairy on the rise, and alternative products imported from the east, being cheaper, and more abundant, shifting our diet seems like a real possibility. Locally sourced products should totally be the priority. Going to the local market, and food businesses to get produce made and grown locally is key for our post Brexit survival, but maybe having a few vegan meals a week with inspiration from the east is an exciting prospect to explore. I’m surprised by my own leanings toward this, as I expected that this would be a more expensive option, but it actually seems like a healthy, tasty and cheaper way forward if we leave the EU!
What do you think, is Veganism the answer to food issues post Brexit?