Weekly Vegan News Round-up - 12/10/2020

Welcome to our weekly vegan news round up, where we go through the Who, What, Where and How of veganism for this past week, as well as share some of our favourite longer reads and throw in some favourite vegan recipes too.




Veganism and Celebrity News

If, like us, you watched Tiger King and were outraged that people are allowed to exploit animals in such an outrageous way you'll be happy to know that this the United States House of Representatives passed The Big Cat Public Safety Act (BCPSA). The bill has the aim of prohibiting private individuals from keeping “big cats” such as tigers, lions, leopards, and others in captivity and banning public contact with these animals for entertainment. It was first introduced in 2012 - the exposure provided by Tiger King finally gave it the momentum needed to get it passed. Its not over yet however - the bill now goes to the Senate for voting.

On the look out for new vegan option for your Xmas dinner? Jamie Oliver has you covered! Jamie took to his Instagram page to share a photo of his meat-free dish. "A lot of you have been asking me for #vegan Christmas Dinner alternatives and I've got just the recipe! This is my whole roasted cauliflower. With a thyme and paprika rub, it's definitely not lacking in flavour! So so good, trust me you'll love it. Link in bio guys. #VeggieChristmas #VeganChristmas," he captioned the post.

Grand Slam-winning tennis champion Venus Williams has launched a vegan protein brand, called Happy Viking. Williams became became vegan after she was diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune condition that affects the nervous system and is identified by symptoms such as dry mouth and eyes, fatigue, and joint pain. Nearly a decade later, Williams has applied her experience with going plant-based to launch Happy Viking.

In other Williams news, this time the Robbie variety - Robbie Williams has gone back to a veganism after apparently recording "the highest mercury poisoning levels his doctor had ever seen". How much fish was this man eating? And where was he buying it, so we know not to ever shop there.




Vegan Products


Vegan jerky maker Urban Cowboys recently launched in Whole Foods Market locations in the Southwest region of the United States. Their mushroom-based jerky is made with the help of artificial intelligence to replicate the meaty texture of old-fashioned beef jerky. They have three jerky flavors - Sweet Onion Teriyaki, Sriracha, and Black Pepper, and these are now available in 12 locations in Dallas, Houston, Austin, and Shreveport, LA.

The band You Me At Six and doing a bit of cross-industry marketing, releasing a new album called Suckapunch paired with a vegan hot sauce, with the same name. The vegan hot sauce, created in collaboration with Lou’s Brews, is limited to 200 bottles and comes only with pre-orders of the new record. Ok, not sure where they are going with that, other than creating some extra buzz with the gimmick. File under lame.

Speaking of cashing in. My Chemical Romance. Vegan cosmetics. HipDot collab. That's all the words they get.

Also a bit gimmicky, but a lot less lame -  New Jersey-based brand Better Than Milk debuted its new line of vegan milks at retailers nationwide, which uses spring water from the Lessini Mountains of Northern Italy. The organic vegan milks are available in five varieties: Unsweetened Almond Drink, Almond Drink, Unsweetened Oat Drink, Unsweetened Rice + Calcium Drink, and Rice Hazelnut.

In Mexico, you can now buy vegan Whopper burgers at 201 Burger King locations across the country. Called the Whopper Vegetal—which translates to Vegetable Whopper—it is the first plant-based burger available on the menu in the country.

Over in Amsterdam, a novel sounding vegan offering has become available - vegan ribs and wings, and they deliver too. They come from the Vegan Junk Food Bar and their junk food box is filled with vegan ribs, wings, waffles, fries, dipping sauces, and Caesar salad. The chain has 4 locations in Holland and recently opened one in Spain also.

Looking at the UK now - Fancy Plants (love the name!) is a company that makes vegan desserts. Their latest offering is two Silky Pots in Chocolate and Chocolate Salted Caramel flavours, as well as two Chia Parfaits. The Silky Pots are not only indulgent but also contain prebiotic fibre, essential for a healthy digestive system. On the other hand, the new Chia Parfaits contain the nutritional goodness of chia seeds
and are rich in omega 3calcium and vitamin D.

Still in the UK, this one is for burger-lovers. The UK's oldest burger chain, Wimpy is finally launching a vegan burger, in time for Veganuary. Nice.

Who's heard of Bambara groundnuts? Not us, but that is what this latest vegan-friendly milk made by Singapore's WhatIF Foods is made off, and word this it is much more sustainable alternative that what is already on the market. Dubbed BamNuts, it is a climate-resilient crop that can grow in harsh envrionments while also regenerating the land it is planted in. Sounds great, looking forward to trying it - look out for it later in 2021, not clear which countries will see it first as of yet.

And one more from Singapore and this one is big news - the city-state has become the first country to allow the sale of lab-grown cell-based meat. The product is not actually vegan, however this can only be good news for the animals and the planet. For some controversial nuance around the announcement scroll down to the Guardian article at the end of the newsletter.




Vegan Places 

Let's open with New York today, and damn does this place sound like a treat. Fat Choy's is a Chinese fast food joint that’s also vegan. The chefs behind the join found inspiration in the flavors they grew up eating in New York’s Chinatown. Their vegan interpretations include rice rolls in charred scallion vinaigrette, tossed with whichever greens look freshest at the market that day. Fried cauliflower gets flavored with garlic and jalapeño and dipped in creamy shallot sauce. One point of difference is that instead of relying on meat substitutes, they aim to showcase the diversity of vegetables, leaning on a combination of creativity and fine dining techniques. 

A few worthy mentions for you from around the place:
  • St Petersburg / Tampa Bay: A food truck under the Nice Cream brand is set to deliver vegan milkshakes to St. Petersburg and the entire Tampa Bay area. The owners vision is to bring to life “a heart centered space for souls to gather together and enjoy cruelty-free deliciousness all while raising conscious awareness on the planet.”
  • Las Vegas: The team behind Vintage Vegan, Autumn (Tumn) and Taylor Riley-Parham are bringing the first vegan vending machine to Las Vegas.
  • Columbus: Another best of - this time the vegan top 5 is for Columbus, Ohio.
  • Portland: In June 2019, Jewan Manuel, a sports model from Michigan, set up his first taco pop-up in front of Workshop Vintage at the Williams District Night Market; eight people showed up. A lot can change in a year, however: Manuel’s entirely vegan comfort-food pop-up, Plant Based Papi, has become an outright phenomenon. When the chef announces a menu on Instagram, customers set alarms on their phones to remind them when preorders go on sale. Now, Manuel is taking the next step: Plant Based Papi — known for its towering jackfruit nachos, truffle mac and cheese, and spicy fried “chicken” — will open its own restaurant on Morrison Street at the end of December.
  • New York: Completing the circle back to NYC - we like this list of 6 best vegan restaurants in NYC.

In the bucket list category today - a hotel in Iceland has launched its first-ever vegan menu and it is a 13 course fair. The 13 vegan dishes include cinnamon marinated beets; wild mushroom and walnut pâté; Tartiflette with smoked Oumph! vegan meat, potatoes, and green beans; tofu Bacalao; and Christmas crème brûlée. The hotel is called Ranga, if you want to jot that down for later.



Favourite reads

The Rest


Is the future plant-based or cell-based? For vegans the answer is clear. In the meantime, have a read of this informative and thoughtful article by Jenny Kleeman, which asks "Whats the point of lab-grown meat when we can simply eat more vegetables?". Jenny is the author of "Sex Robots and Vegan Meat: Adventures at the Frontier of Birth, Food, Sex and Death". Which is a great book title, if nothing else.

It was nice to see these letters to the editor in LA Times last week, under the title "Prevent the next pandemic. Go Vegan". Keep writing, team.
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