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Category : Veganism

What happened to quality control?’ Vegan passenger served butter and cheese on British Airways flight – The Independent

A British Airways passenger who requested a special vegan meal was served it with butter and cheese.

Markwas travelling on British Airways flight BA288 on 1 March from Phoenix, US, to London Heathrow.

He tweeted a picture of his VGML vegan meal, which had a special meal sticker on it, next to a butter sachet and cheddar cheese triangle.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

He captioned the image: 15 years ago I would have expected it, but youre *still* serving cheese and butter with VGMLs at a time when veganism has never been so popular and well catered for elsewhere.

What happened to quality control and crew awareness?

A cockroach was found in an Air India breakfast meal.

Twitter/Manoj Khandekar

Avianca's idea of a vegetarian meal was an apple and a pear on board one flight.

Twitter/Steve Hogarty

Emirates served this disappointing Cajun chicken and cheese sandwich on a flight to Dubai

Paul Carlin

Martin Pavelka was handed this banana, complete with "gluten-free" label, as his inflight meal on an ANA service from Tokyo to Sydney.

Martin Pavelka/Evening Standard

Oman Air's finest: presenting something approximating a mushroom sandwich on a flight to Heathrow.

Nick Boulos

Aegean Airways served up some raw pepper and carrot sticks as its veggie option on one flight.


An Air India passenger wasn't impressed when she found this in the business class lounge.

Twitter/Harinder Baweja

Not everyone turns their nose up at plane food - this Urumqi flight attendant was suspended after a video of her eating leftovers went viral.

Viral Press

A cockroach was found in an Air India breakfast meal.

Twitter/Manoj Khandekar

Avianca's idea of a vegetarian meal was an apple and a pear on board one flight.

Twitter/Steve Hogarty

Emirates served this disappointing Cajun chicken and cheese sandwich on a flight to Dubai

Paul Carlin

Martin Pavelka was handed this banana, complete with "gluten-free" label, as his inflight meal on an ANA service from Tokyo to Sydney.

Martin Pavelka/Evening Standard

Oman Air's finest: presenting something approximating a mushroom sandwich on a flight to Heathrow.

Nick Boulos

Aegean Airways served up some raw pepper and carrot sticks as its veggie option on one flight.


An Air India passenger wasn't impressed when she found this in the business class lounge.

Twitter/Harinder Baweja

Not everyone turns their nose up at plane food - this Urumqi flight attendant was suspended after a video of her eating leftovers went viral.

Viral Press

British Airways responded: Were sorry you were given dairy products with your vegan meal, Mark. Were grateful youve made us aware of this.

A British Airways spokesperson told The Independent: We take pride in delivering thousands of special meals daily to our customers across the globe to the highest of standards. We are extremely sorry that our customer has had a negative experience. The reported issue is being investigated with our catering partner and we will take action to ensure this does not occur in the future.

Veganism is not just a diet, but a deeply held ethical conviction that harming animals is wrong, so it can be really upsetting for a vegan to be given animal products when they have specifically ordered a vegan option, Matt Turner, spokesperson for The Vegan Society, told The Independent.

Vegan meals often have to be ordered in advance and sometimes dont make it on board the plane. We are campaigning to see a vegan option added to standard inflight menus across the board so that everyone has the choice to order them.

Vegan passengers should always be able to fly with ease and confidence that they will be catered for.

Its not the first time a passenger with dietary requirements has been served an inadequate inflight meal.

Last November, a newlywed returning from his honeymoon was left hungry and disappointed after Tui failed to provide a gluten-free meal for him on the 10-hour flight home.

James Howe had paid for premium seats and pre-booked special meals as he suffers from coeliac disease, meaning he cant process gluten.

However, the 39-year-old from Watford was given just popcorn and crisps to survive the long-haul flight from Cancun, Mexico to Gatwick airport on 18 October.

In 2018, a vegan passenger was left feeling distressed and humiliated after it transpired there were no vegan meals available onboard her flight from Manchester to New Yorks John F Kennedy airport.

Trilby Harrison, 54, was given nothing but nuts and crisps to eat during the seven-hour Thomas Cook flight on 15 October, despite having prebooked a vegan meal through tour operator Gotogate.

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What happened to quality control?' Vegan passenger served butter and cheese on British Airways flight - The Independent

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Five Reasons Why Sport Is Going Vegan – Forbes

Veganism is on the rise worldwide and pop culture, retail and sports have taken notice.

Scientific evidence shows that diets high in unrefined plant foods are associated with beneficial health outcomes, including general health, immune function, cardiovascular health and lifespan. It would appear logical that plant based diets have the ability to enhance performance in a variety of areas, including sports.

LONDON ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Vegan strongman world record holder Patrik Baboumian poses for ... [+] portraits after talking about his veganism and the documentary Game Changers during Plant Powered Expo 2020 at Olympia London on February 2, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Getty Images).

Many critics have dismissed this shift in sports culture to a fad with no concrete scientific evidence to back it. And whether the merits can be substantiated or not, one thing is for sure plant based is a growing trend in the sports world with an increasing number of athletes advocating for its game changing qualities.

Here are five reasons why sports are going vegan.

Many plant-based products have more protein than meat

Traditionally athletes believed that the only way to meet their daily protein requirement was via meat consumption, but with increased awareness around nutrition, this has changed.

Many plant-based foods are actually richer in protein than meat. One ounce of meat protein contains 7 grams of protein, which is comparable to many plant based sources.

A 2019 German study, reported in the journal Nutrients found that athletes following a plant based diet with B-12 supplementation actually had marginally higher nutrient adequacy than athletes who were meat eaters.

With 15g of protein per serving, black beans for example, have more protein than a chicken drumstick and one cup of lentils has 18g of protein more than a hamburger. The need for other nutrients, such as calcium, iron, and vitamin B-12, can be met via plant based sources such as edemame which provides 27.6 per cent of the daily requirement of calcium, one cup of fortified orange juice which meets one half of the daily calcium requirement, spinach which carries more than twice the amount of iron than meat and dark chocolate which carries more than six times the amount of iron as meat. As for B-12, fortified foods and supplements can be used to ensure good health.

Sports drinks and performance enhancers are going plant based

According to research from Lumina Intelligence, 21 per cent of online bestselling protein powders in the USA are plant-based (March 2019).

A sharp increase in the availability of plant-based, performance enhancing products has made it easier and more enticing for athletes to embrace a plant-based lifestyle.

The sector is booming and is intensely competitive. Lumina reveals that there is an innovation race, as brands chase the elusive perfect plant protein with pea protein currently taking the number one spot.

Vegan sports nutrition is also coming in the form of pre-prepared meals and nutritional programs. In 2016 Tom Brady teamed up with Purple Carrot, a vegan meal delivery service to create a meatless, dairy-free TB12 performance meal plan.

Plant based gives endurance athletes an edge when it comes to heart health

In a 2019 review entitled, Plant-Based Diets for Cardiovascular Safety and Performance in Endurance Sports, it was reported that the elevated cardiovascular risks faced by endurance athletes, such as atherosclerosis (plaque building up inside arteries) and myocardial damage (decreased blood flow to the heart) can be reduced by a plant based dairy free diet.

Researchers at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine have also suggested that a vegan diet can enhance athletic performance due to enhanced cardiovascular health, reduced blood pressure and cholesterol and weight loss.

Plant based diets are more conducive to recovery

Armenian-German strongest man in the world and former body builder, Patrik Baboumian credited his body building success to a vegan lifestyle. My recovery time was so much faster so I could train more, he said.

Evidence from Harvard Medical School shows that plants antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help to shorten recovery times, reduce delayed onset muscle soreness, lessen joint pain, and enable quicker healing from injuries. Plant based diets also improve blood viscosity, which helps to efficiently deliver oxygen around the body, promoting healing. All of these factors can also contribute to career longevity.

Pro athletes are endorsing the plant-based link to performance

The plant based shift in sports culture is evident in the Netflix documentary, The Game Changers produced by Arnold Schwarzenegger, that uses first hand testimonials from elite athletes to depict how a vegan diet improves athletic performance.

Venus Williams opted to transition to a raw, vegan diet when she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called Sjgrens syndrome that caused her to suffer from joint and muscle pain. In an interview with Health magazine, Williams revealed that her new diet was life changing, allowing her to return to tennis. I feel like Im doing the right thing for me," she said.

BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 26: Venus Williams of the USA learns to make tanghulu (candied fruit) at ... [+] the 2019 China Open on September 26, 2019 in Beijing, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Pro athletes are increasingly adopting vegan or vegetarian diets, while advocating for their overall health benefits, improved performance and enhanced recovery. Footballer, Tom Brady eats a predominantly plant based diet, the Williams sisters are vegan, elite rock climber, Steph Davis is vegan Lionel Messi, Novak Djokovic, Colin Kaepernick, Lewis Hamilton The list goes on.

According to Barny du Plessis, the worlds first vegan bodybuilder and Mr Universe 2014, These days I train half as much, do half as much but get better results. Why? Only one answer, going vegan, GMO free, and organic. My body is running perfectly."

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Five Reasons Why Sport Is Going Vegan - Forbes

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Taco Bell Is Adding Vegan Meat to Its Menu Nationwide – LIVEKINDLY

Taco Bell announced it will add plant-based meat to its menu in the next year.

Last fall, the Mexican-inspired fast-food chain debuted a dedicated vegetarian menu. It featured two new menu items: a Vegetarian Crunchwrap Supreme and a Vegetarian Quesarito.

At the start of 2020, the chain vowed to continue providing the most vegetarian choices and to make it even easier for customers to order them.

Now, the company is embracing veganism as consumer demand for plant-based products grows, especially in the fast-food sector.

We definitely see that plant-based protein has a place on the menu, Taco Bell CEO Mark King told Bloomberg Green.

The fast-food chain is still deciding which plant-based options to add to the menu.King says the company met with Beyond Meat Inc. and Impossible Foods Inc. in recent months

King sampled Beyond Meats items just last week and says hes a fan. I tried all the food which was really exciting, and way beyond my expectation.

According to Fast Company, monthly average searches for the word vegan along with names of major fast-food chains rose 12 percent from 2018 to 2019.

The words vegan Taco Bell ranked number one, yielding 456,500 total searches from January 2018 to August 2019.

By comparison, vegan Starbucks came in second with 216,500 total searches, and vegan Burger King came in third with 127,700.

The arrival of vegan meat to Taco Bells in the US comes on the heels of a shift towards veganism in chains overseas.

Last fall, Taco Bell China added OmniPork, vegan pork that looks and tastes like animal-derived pork, to its menu for a limited time.

The vegan pork is made from shiitake mushrooms, pea protein, soy protein, and rice protein.

Taco Bell Spain also added plant-based meat to its menu last year.

The meat-free meat is made from oats and beans and is marinated in a sauce with secret Taco Bell spices.

Customers can substitute the new oat meat in place of animal-based meats in any of Taco Bells menu options.

Taco Bell launched a limited-time menu featuring the oat-based meat in London locations last May.


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Taco Bell Is Adding Vegan Meat to Its Menu Nationwide


Mexican-inspired fast-food chain Taco Bell announced it will add vegan meat to its menu in the next year; it is still deciding on plant-based options.


Audrey Enjoli

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Taco Bell Is Adding Vegan Meat to Its Menu Nationwide - LIVEKINDLY

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

As veganism grows more popular in the U.K., dairy industry fights back – Marketplace

In March, the first nationalvegan milk delivery service will be coming to British doorsteps, a clear sign that veganism is on the rise in the United Kingdom.

One opinion survey suggested that 3.5 million Brits, around 5% of the population, now identify as vegan and avoid consuming or using animal by-products.

Their motivations range from worries about animal welfare to considerations about human healthand a concern that methane emissions from cattle are contributing significantly to climate change.

Richard Eckersley, co-director of ReRooted, the company launching the new doorstep delivery service, refuses to drink cows milk for ethical reasons.

I dont think we should be impregnating cowsand then taking their milk away from their babies, he said. Were in the 21st century. Lets use plants instead.

His company, based in Totnes in the southwestern county of Devon, currently produces around 700 liters, or 1,225 pints, of both coconut and almond milk per day in reusable glass bottles,which are deliveredlocally by electric van. Eckersley is confident that there is enough demand for a national service.

Every day people are switching from dairy milk to no-dairy milk, he said. I think theres a massive demand for it. The markets opening up and what were moving into is a new ballpark.

Veganism does seem to be all the rage, with the annual monthlong promotion ofVeganuary, which encourages people to go vegan for all of January, gaining more and more recruits.

But the dairy industry is fighting back. It just had its own monthlong promotion called Februdairy, promoting the message that cows milk is healthy, ethically produced and ecologically benign.Some new dairy farmers like Olly Lee are determined to outgreen the vegans.

Weve gone for what we feel is the most environmentally friendly way of packaging milk, Lee of How Now Dairy said. Were using compostable packaging.

Lee says the pasture on which his cows graze captures far more greenhouse gases than the cattle emit.And his returnable, compostablepackaging helps.

We can spread it on our fields, Lee said. That compost will improve the soil health which improves the ability of the soil to then store carbon.

Lees organicmilk (also delivered locally by electric vehicle) is, he insists, every bit as green as the vegan variety. And he treats histiny herd with loving care.

We have only 20 cows, so we know every one of them by name, he said. We know her mothers name, and her grandmas name. We know the whole lineage. I take a real pride in looking after my cows.

In spite of the small herd, Lee is confident that when operating at full capacity his dairy will be profitable, because his milk is a premium product.

It certainly has a premium price tag: $1.30 per pint. Thats more than three times the price of ordinary milk.ReRootedsvegan coconut drink costs even more: $2.15 per pint. Eco-friendly milk dairy or non-dairy doesnt come cheap.

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As veganism grows more popular in the U.K., dairy industry fights back - Marketplace

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

Liverpool’s massive vegan fair is coming to St George’s Hall this month – The Guide Liverpool

Liverpool will be welcoming back a massive vegan festival on Saturday 28rd March.

The Live A Better Life Vegan Fair, Liverpools biggest vegan event, will return to St Georges Hall offering delicious food and advice for those interested in all things vegan.

The Live A Better Life vegan fairs have been running in Liverpool since 2013 and have been attended by more than 26,000 people.

Event Manager Emma Cox said: Our last event at St Georges Hall attracted over 3,000 people. With so many new foods to try and things to see, we are expecting our next event to be even more popular.

A total of 130 stalls will be selling everything from vegan food to cruelty-free beauty products. A massive range of delicious food will be on offer as well as natural products, fashion, jewellery, gifts and much more.

Event Manager Emma added: Interest in veganism is higher than ever in 2020.

There are already a growing number of people in Liverpool who are vegan, vegetarian or on their way to a plant-based diet.

For the increasing numbers of people who want to find out more about improving their health, saving animals and protecting the environment, this is an amazing event which will entertain and inspire.

For the first time ever we will have a live musical theatre show inside the vegan fair. Live singing and dance performances will take place on the Great Hall main stage for visitors to enjoy. Fantasy Performers will be providing a spectacular 2 hour live show, starting at 1pm.

Showcasing the best vegan food and natural products in Liverpool, the Live A Better Life event will be a great day out that all the family can enjoy.

The Live A Better Life event takes place at St Georges Hall, Liverpool, L1 1JJ.

Its happening 28th March from 10-5 and entry is 3 on the door (under 10s free).

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Liverpool's massive vegan fair is coming to St George's Hall this month - The Guide Liverpool

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

Lord Sugar hopes bakerys vegan expansion will bring in the dough – Yahoo Finance UK

Lord Sugar is pinning his latest hopes for business success on vegan pastries sold in a bakery in a railway arch in south London.

The Apprentice star said he hopes to tap into the rapidly expanding vegan market, after backing 30-year-old bakery owner Carina Lepore in last years series of the reality show.

However, the Amstrad founder said he has no plans to go vegan himself anytime soon, as Ms Lepores Dough Bakehouse launched its new vegan range.

Lord Sugar said he wants Carina Lepores bakery business to challenge Greggs (Dough/PA)

Although Dough currently has one site in Herne Hill, south London, Lord Sugar said the new range is part of its attempts to compete with high street giant Greggs, as it eyes a nationwide expansion.

Shes promised me that shes going to open 100 stores and were going to give Greggs a run for their money, the TV personality said.

And what I can see so far, I think shes got a good chance. Theyre doing excellent stuff, and the food quality, the cakes and the patisseries are excellent.

Ms Lepore received 250,000 investment from Lord Sugar after winning the show in 2019, which she said will be pumped into the bakery she opened with her parents in 2018.

She said a second Dough site is set to open in Beckenham in April, with the company lining up more openings in 2020.

It comes amid stiff competition in the bakery sector, as rivals such as Gails open more London sites.

Ms Lepore said she will prioritise keeping prices low as the bakery cafe chain continues to grow.

Carina Lepore secured 250,000 from Lord Sugar (Dough/PA)

She said: There is definitely space in the market to grow. With veganism, that is one of the big trends, and for us, it is just key that we are always ahead of the curve.

In the past year, rival Greggs grew its portfolio by 97 stores, as it was boosted by the popularity of its vegan sausage rolls.

Lord Sugar said the vegan trend provided a strong business opportunity, even if he will not be changing his own diet soon.

He said: No, Im certainly not going vegan. Im happy with my diet but I dont have a lot of meat.

Im very impressed with the new vegan range, because obviously this vegan stuff is becoming more and more popular as time goes by, especially with young people.

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Lord Sugar hopes bakerys vegan expansion will bring in the dough - Yahoo Finance UK

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

Vegans want to change the workplace and it all starts in the kitchen – CNBC

As veganism grows in popularity around the world, there is increasing pressure for employers to catch up and make the workplace more inclusive.

Measures proposed by the U.K. charity The Vegan Society include dedicated vegan shelves in office fridges, as well as color-coded equipment and separate food preparation areas.

The number of vegans in the U.K. alone quadrupled between 2014 and 2019, growing from 150,000 to 600,000 people, according to the charity. Meanwhile, global internet searches for "veganism" have more than doubled in the past five years, according to Google Trends data, and the term is now seeing around three times the interest of "vegetarianism."

Vegans don't consume animal products and the subsequent shift towards plant-based diets led The Vegan Society to last week publish tips for employers on how they can create a more inclusive work environment for vegan employees.

This was in light of recent changes to U.K. anti-discrimination law which now protects "ethical veganism" people who not only follow a plant-based diet but also avoid any products using, or tested on, animals.

The charity said employers should consider the following:

In January, an employment tribunal in the U.K. confirmed that ethical veganism is a belief that is protected within the scope of the 2010 Equality Act.

This is the U.K. law which says it is illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of age, disability, gender and religion, among other protected characteristics.

The inclusion of ethical veganism within the remit of this law came after an employment tribunal ruled in favor of Jordi Casamitjana, who alleged he was fired from his job at the League Against Cruel Sports for his beliefs. Casamitjana claimed he was fired for telling colleagues that the League's pension fund was invested in companies involved in animal testing.

Matt Turner, a spokesman for The Vegan Society, said the protections for ethical vegans in the U.K. are "long overdue."

"As momentum in the U.K. continues to grow, it's imperative that employers ensure that the ever-increasing number of ethical vegans are protected and catered for in the workplace," he said.

Eric Brent, CEO of California-based online vegan and vegetarian restaurant directory HappyCow, said he believed the same legal protections should apply to vegans in the U.S.

He argued that vegans should be included on the list of people protected under Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) laws, which protect workers in the U.S. against workplace discrimination.

The EEOC, meanwhile, told CNBC via email that veganism could sometimes be considered a religious practice and be protected under its laws.

For example, in 2012, a federal district court ruled in favor of a woman who filed a lawsuit over her dismissal from a hospital. The woman refused to get a flu vaccination which she said went against her veganism and she used biblical extracts as the basis for arguing her beliefs.

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Vegans want to change the workplace and it all starts in the kitchen - CNBC

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Veganism row breaks out after Joaquin Phoenix is told: be kinder to farmers – The Guardian

He has been called a diva and pretentious, and there are even those who dont like his acting but never before has Joaquin Phoenix been accused of causing mental health problems for British livestock farmers.

On Tuesday, the National Farmers Union (NFU) president, Minette Batters, changed all that, opening a new front against the US actor by claiming that he and other celebrity campaigners for veganism had played a part in demonising the UKs meat producers and doing enormous damage to their wellbeing.

Days after the Joker actors Oscars speech attacking the meat industry, Batters said farmers fearing the imminent loss of their livelihoods and family holdings were in a state of stress and anxiety.

Asked at the unions annual conference who she thought was driving the view that meat was bad and plants were good, she said: A lot of people who seem to hit the red carpet at the Bafta awards.

She added: Celebrities have to be careful [because] there are real-life consequences for others Joaquin Phoenix, hes had a really challenging life, and you really feel for him and a lot of the things he was saying, but he has to remember there are people at the end of this, there are small family farms and they get hurt too.

Her comments were immediately criticised by vegan and animal rights groups, who accused Batters of making claims without evidence and ignoring the ethical problems posed by meat production.

Veganism is something of an easy target at the moment and Im not sure that we are the cause of farmers problems, said a spokesperson for the Vegan Society. There are many causes of mental health issues and stress in farming and I havent seen evidence, a piece of research, showing that veganism is one of them.

Phoenix, who has been a vegan since he was three, made a plea for tolerance and equality in his acceptance speech for the best actor award at the Oscars, saying no race, gender or species had rights over another.

I think weve become very disconnected from the natural world, he said. We go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources. We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakeable. Then we take her milk thats intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.

Veganism continues to grow in popularity in the UK, with supermarkets clearing shelf space for plant-based ready meals, and meat-free dining in restaurants and pubs now commonplace.

Other celebrities who have spoken about the health benefits of plant-based diets are Benedict Cumberbatch, Ellie Goulding and Beyonc, with their support credited with aiding a rise in veganisms popularity.

Batters said she was not saying veganism is wrong, but argued that the debate around animal products had become so binary that meat was being put in the same category as tobacco.

I remember the interview I did with Evan Davis on PM to talk about the governments new food strategy and he said: Is eating meat the new smoking? He compared us with the tobacco industry and you think, Whoa, just think about all of this.

But the Vegan Society questioned whether its members were really so influential, pointing out that the total number of vegans in the UK was still only 600,000, and saying: The fact is 99% of the population are still eating animal products. There might be a lot more meat reducers, but this is not an industry that has been threatened by veganism.

Dawn Carr, the director of vegan corporate projects at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), said farmers were not the only ones feeling anxious.

We cant turn a blind eye to the visible fear and distress shown by animals raised for their flesh, milk and eggs, she said. They have no choice, but farmers do: instead of sending sentient animals to slaughter, they can sow oats or soya beans or grow vegetables, grains, nuts or fruits instead, depending on the quality of their land.

Batters called for kindness to be shown to farmers and an understanding that they were human too. Its very polarised and its doing enormous damage to the mental health of livestock farmers, she said.

Its just about instilling this philosophy and being kind and farmers need we all need to think that too in this world of social media, we just need to take a step back sometimes.

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Veganism row breaks out after Joaquin Phoenix is told: be kinder to farmers - The Guardian

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Is a vegan diet really as healthy as we think? –

If youre among Britains 600,000 vegans or the estimated 400,000 more who signed up for Veganuary this year the chances are you stopped eating animal products for the sake of the environment and your health. But is it possible the worlds fastest growing consumer trend could actually damage, not improve, your health?

No one disputes that eating more fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, and nuts is good for us and reduces the risk of chronic diseases. But scientists and nutritionists are concerned that increasingly popular fake meats and vegan fast foods may be less healthy than their meaty alternatives.

British shoppers spent 474 million on meat-free groceries including burgers, sausages, ready meals and cooking ingredients in 2019,according to consumer analysts Kantar Worldpanel -an increase of eight per centon the previous year. This doesnt include sales of vegan fast food, which are also skyrocketing.

There are also fears that vegan diets may be causing deficiencies in crucial nutrients that could lead to serious health problems.

The whole issue of plant-based food products is highly contentious. Scientists at a farmers conference in London last week hit back at veganism, suggesting that eating tofu a key protein source in many plant-based diets might be worse for the planet than consuming some meats. The theory is that per unit of protein absorbed, tofu production may cause more greenhouse gas emissions than rearing lamb, pork and chicken for the table. The fact that Almond Milk production requires vast amounts of water in drought afflicted California is also well documented.

But whatever the environmental pros and cons, the booming meat-free food market has prompted some doctors and scientists to question whether some of these products can be considered part of a healthy diet.

From meatballs and burgers to goujons and bacon, imitation meats are everywhere. Some have been around for years. Seitan, traditionally used in Chinese cookery, is a form of wheat gluten. Many people are familiar with Quorn, although perhaps not what its made from: mycoprotein, a protein derived from fermented fungi, bound with egg albumen or potato protein. And soy products like tofu and tempeh have long been used in Asian cuisine as a plant-based substitute for meat.

All these products are good sources of protein and are nutritious to varying degrees. But some, like tofu and seitan, are not complete sources of protein, that is, they dont contain all the essential amino acids our bodies need. And seitan and Quorn are also highly processed. Seitan would not be suitable for anyone with gluten or wheat sensitivity.

In recent years, a new generation of high-tech products made from plants has been developed to recreate the exact taste, texture and appearance of meat. Most are also highly processed, made with a long list of unfamiliar ingredients and sometimes new production methods. The Vegan Butcher range, for example, lists soy structure as the main ingredient in its Chickened Out Burger and Good Karma Shawarma. According to Unilever, which owns the brand, this is an amalgam of water, soy protein, wheat starch and wheat protein.

Beyond Burgers, which are sold in over 25,000 food outlets worldwide and found in the meat section of some British supermarkets, are among the new fake meats made with pea protein isolate. Impossible Burgers, widely available in the US but not yet approved for sale in the UK, are made with soy leghemoglobin. This is a protein that carries heme, an iron-rich molecule that gives the futuristic patties their realistic colour, aroma, and flavour of meat.

Last year, Harvards School of Public Health researched these novel meats to determine whether they could be considered part of a healthy diet. They concluded that the answer was far from clear as studies are currently inconclusive.

However, Chair of the Department of Nutrition, Dr Frank Hu, said it couldnt be assumed that the health benefits of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and nuts were the same as meat alternatives made with highly processed plants. Food processing can lead to the loss of some nutrients and phytochemicals naturally present in minimally processed plant foods, he said.

Dr Hu added that a recent study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases found a link between highly processed foods and weight gain, although the study did not focus on meat substitutes.

Other ingredients going into industrially processed vegan food are also causing concern. To make these products taste as similar as possible to their non-vegan counterparts, manufacturers include many additives, notably salt and sugar. Recent research by content agency JBH revealed some vegan fast food contained much more salt and sugar than their non-vegan equivalents. Subways Meatless Meatball Marina, for example, clocked in with 3.6g of salt (more than half the recommended daily intake of 6g) and 19.3g of sugar. Its Meatball Sub contained much less of both, with 1.9g and 13.5g of salt and sugar respectively.

Many popular brands of meat-free burgers, sausages and bacon sold in supermarkets also contain high levels of salt, according to Mhairi Brown, a nutritionist and policy co-ordinator with campaigning group Action Against Salt. She says the main problem with these products is the perception encouraged by food manufacturers that vegan food is healthy simply because its made from plants. They often use green or orange packaging, and also the term plant-based, to create a health halo, she says. People think these products are healthy when that might not be the case at all.

Registered dietitian Sophie Medlin agrees. Many people think that if a food is vegan its healthier, she says. The truth is there are some really great vegan alternatives to meat and dairy but there are plenty of food manufacturers simply chasing the vegan pound. Fast food outlets that have questionable animal welfare standards and poor environmental practices are selling vegan alternatives that are often deep fried carbohydrates in a bun.

Although vegan advocates insist its perfectly possible to eat a well-balanced plant-based diet, nutritionists are concerned that many people simply dont manage it. Medlin reports a rise in cases of anaemia at her clinic caused by vitamin B12 deficiency. Essential for brain and nervous system function, B12 is naturally found in animal products but generally not in plant foods unless theyre fortified, putting vegetarians and vegans at particular risk of deficiency. Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause irreversible nerve damage.

Its not surprising that demand for B12 injections and intravenous drips at high street vitamin salons is rising. We administer 20% more B12 shots now than we did two years ago, and around 30% of our customers are vegetarian or vegan says Richard Chambers, founder of Get A Drip. In December alone we administered 528 B12 products. (Medlin strongly advises against going to high-street providers for injections or IVs).

Another cause for concern is the risk to bone health caused by calcium and vitamin D deficiency, says Professor Ian Givens, director of the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health at Reading University. Research shows vegans have lower bone mineral density and fracture rates nearly a third higher than the general population, with teenagers and post-menopausal women were particularly at risk. Vegetarian and vegan diets can increase the risk of reduced bone strength and special care is needed to ensure adequate intake of the key nutrients, Prof Givens says.

We also think there may be a lot of new food allergies issues emerging due to the ingredients being used in some vegan foods, adds Professor Chris Elliott, from the Institute of Global Food Security at Queens University Belfast. It is too early to say this for sure for we are watching this closely. We doubt very much about how well nutritionally balanced many of these are and will only add to the issues were already concerned about. He says long-term studies into these foods are needed.

Heather Russell, a dietitian for the Vegan Society, says anyone considering opting for a plant-based diet needs to educate themselves about good nutrition and healthy protein sources(nutrition information is available on their website). Whether youre vegan or not, its a good idea to use food labels to keep an eye on added fat, salt and sugar and limit highly processed foods, she says.

Experts do agree that the healthiest diet includes an abundance of minimally processed plant foods, and limited amounts of the highly processed stuff. But just because food is made from plants doesnt mean its good for you -that bag of crisps might be vegan, but its not health food.

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Is a vegan diet really as healthy as we think? -

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Cadbury set to launch vegan chocolate bar, as trend steals the show at ISM2020 –

The future is plant-based read the sign above the Katjes' booth at this years ProSweets/ISM conference in Cologne, perfectly illustrating the main trend at the sweets and snacks fair and also capturing the wider zeitgeist of a worldwide consumer movement in confectionery.

Irina Beule, insights & innovation manager at Innova Market Insights, told ConfectioneryNews it is describing the trend as the plant-based revolution.

Plant-based is already here, but now it is really taking off, consumers are preferring plant-based, but vegan is growing as fast, especially with younger consumers who want a more healthy lifestyle, but also with a lot of other generations, who want to do something good for the planet, she said.

Katjes, a German sugar confectionery firm, made its debut in 2019 in the chocolate category with the launch of Katjes Chocjes, a vegan chocolate bar in two flavours (Original and Hazelnut) made from oat milk instead of cows milk.

At ISM 2020, it launched four new vegan flavours and attracted thousands of visitors to its booth a clear indication that vegan chocolate is on the rise.

Alex Cramer, brand manager at Katjes, said the new category had been a great development for the company and that plant-based is the future and that chocolate also tastes good without cows milk theres lots of dairy alternatives and we have chosen oatmilk because it is the most sustainable alternative.

Commenting on the launch of its vegan chocolate, Katjes CEO Tobias Bachmuller said: With the expansion of our product line through the launch of Chocjes, we are strengthening our commitment to create great things. Obviously Katjes is an expert at vegetarian fruit jelly sweets. But with Chocjes, we are also catering to a growing consumer audience that is seeking out alternatives to cows milk.

The latest major brand to jump on the vegan bandwagon is Cadbury, announcing it is launching a new plant-based version of its Dairy Milk chocolate bar.

Although owner Mondelz International has not yet confirmed a launch date, ConfectioneryNews understands it has spent two years developing the bar.

We are very aware of the rise in consumer interest towards vegan products. We have a brilliant R&D team who are focused entirely on new products and innovation to enable us to offer more great-tasting choices to consumers. We only launch products when we have achieved the best taste and texture that consumers expect from Cadbury, and there are lots of exciting developments in the pipeline, a spokesperson said.

The ISM trade fair was held at beginning of February, a month after Veganuary, a global organisation encouraging people to adopt a vegan lifestyle in January and beyond. Organisers said this years response has been astounding and over 400,000 people signed-up, compared to 250,000 in 2019, far exceeding the groups 2020 target of 350,000.

In his Oscar-winning acceptance speech, A-list actor Joaquin Phoenix championed veganism and also highlighted the movement at The Golden Globes. February was also the month that Ben & Jerrys launched a trio of new vegan ice creams, while along came RAR from passionate challenger brand Froneri, who also introduced a brand new plant-based ice cream suitable for vegans.

Tiia Morsky, an ingredients research team leader at market analysts Campden BRI, told ConfectioneryNews: The rise in veganism and flexitarian diets requires products to be free from animal-based ingredients. The food industry is responding by seeking to develop or reformulate products with plant-based protein ingredients, but this is no easy task. Manufacturers can become confused about which plant-based proteins are available to them, which are most suitable for their product and how they will function during new product development.

Cocoa and chocolate supplier Barry Callebaut also chose ISM2020 to launch its new 'Plant Craft' range that spans chocolate, cocoa, nut products, fillings and decorations to cater for dairy-free and vegan trends.

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Cadbury set to launch vegan chocolate bar, as trend steals the show at ISM2020 -

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

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