VegfestUK London, the UK’s biggest indoor vegan exhibition, returned in style to the live events stage after an enforced hiatus of 3 years with a weekend of most excellent stalls, talks and entertainment that saw a crowd of over 8,000 descend upon Olympia Grand to devour a host of plant based options. Full of vibrancy, passion and energy, the event outshone many previous years for the sheer pleasure of coming together again as an extended family, with many new additions to the table bringing a wave of optimism and positivity to the scene that has helped lift a whole community at a time when vegan independents, charities and sanctuaries are facing unprecedented challenges.
Alongside close on 200 exhibitors with a plethora of all things plant based were 10 talks areas and a focus on environment and health and the benefits of plant based diets – plus a strong outreach element encouraging people new to veganism and plant based diets to enjoy the benefits of the lifestyle and learn more about these aspects. Previous years have seen around 70% of visitors already vegan, and 30% new to the lifestyle. This year we would estimate the other way around, with around 70% of visitors not yet vegan. Previously we have focused more on vegan movement issues and movement building – this year we have focused more on outreach. The vibe has been fantastic, very friendly, very supportive and very much geared toward encouraging people to go vegan and adopt a plant based lifestyle.
The show also featured the VegfestUK Awards, which were voted for online by the public, seeing 170 vegan businesses, charities and individuals celebrated for their achievements. “It’s a crucial time to support vegan outfits with our spend and support” added the organisers “and we are thrilled to say that the real stars of the event this year are our visitors, who flocked to spend hard earned and precious funds with so very many of our exhibitors. Spend was surprisingly good and for that we are truly most grateful.”
At the heart of the show, in the centre of the iconic Grand Hall, was an exhibition featuring animal rights artists from across the globe, surrounded by a number of animal sanctuaries and campaigns – a rare occurrence to see at an event like this. “We wanted to keep the animals at the centre of this show” stated the organisers, “and ensure that those working tirelessly and often with very few resources to help animals enjoyed the prime spots at the heart of the expo. We’re so thrilled to see so many plant based options on the market and its such a revelation to be able to shop in comfort and safe in the knowledge that everything is free from animals. But the vegan position is just that – a position we take against the wilful commodification of all animals, and whilst we celebrate the growth of plant based options, let’s not forget the true meaning and key message of veganism. The animals deserve better.”
With 2023 already on the horizon, VegfestUK has 2 shows planned, including Vegan Life Live at Alexandra Place June 24th 25th 23 and a return to Olympia Grand November 11th 12th 23 for the 20th anniversary shows for the firm. “We started in 2003 and its fitting to be celebrating our 20th anniversary in style with 2 big shows in London this coming year” say the organisers “and we can’t wait to welcome people back again to build on what we have achieved in 2022. The world needs more vegans and more plant based options like never before and we will be doing our best to ensure we help as much as we can with this.”