November 1 brought us World Vegan Day, and to celebrate the auspicious day, the United Kingdom opened its first ever vegan butcher shop in London. Within 10 minutes, the shop saw more than 100 online orders placed and attracted many customers, creating havoc on the streets.
Rudy’s Vegan Butcher shop launches
Set up like a typical UK butcher shop with meat cases and white tiled walls, Rudy’s Vegan Butcher offers customers a wide range of plant-based alternatives ranging from veggie pastramis to vegan chicken and sausage patties. The substitutes are mostly made from soy and wheat protein seitan, which imitates the experience of consuming meat. Veteran chef and co-founder of Rudy’s, Matthew J. Foster explained: “It’s all designed to emulate meat. It tastes like meat, it’s got meat-like texture.”
Foster explained his inspiration for opening the store stemmed from the animal cruelty he saw during his time as a professional chef. “It didn’t seem right anymore,” Foster said. “We can survive and thrive far better on a plant-based diet.” This prompted he and his business and life partner, Ruth Mumma, to open the butcher shop as an extension to their popular restaurant, Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner, which launched in April 2018.
The restaurant was launched as a way to educate others and promote animal rights by using “unbeatable, mouthwatering food and a punk AF attitude towards getting sh!t done,” according to their website.
Their diner re-imagined American fast food by delivering products made entirely out of plants. With his vegan butcher shop, Foster hopes to expand on that vision, as they also provide DIY home kits for Ruth’s favorite meals. For every DIY kit purchased, GB£1 (US$1.33) is donated to Friend Farm Animal Sanctuary.
Veganism is more than a trend
Other than the cruelty-free reasoning behind veganism, the diet has been proved to be one of the best ways to reduce one’s carbon footprint. According to The New York Times, lots of carbon emissions are required for meat production globally, especially with beef and lamb. These meatless alternatives can avoid such high emissions. Foster warns his customers, “We’re destroying the planet for our taste buds.”
According to Business Insider, only about 1% of the UK’s population is vegan – yet the industry seems to be booming within the UK in recent years, growing 40% in sales from 2014 to 2019. It’s also currently estimated to generate around GB£816 million (US$1.05 billion) annually. By 2024, the figure is expected to surpass £1.1 billion (US$1.41 billion).
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