Independent Retailers Lounge at VegfestUK Trade to assist retailers in accessing growing vegan market

31st July 2017

The past decade sees the number of vegans in the UK rise by 360% as well as the growth in number and size of many UK-based vegan businesses, not to mention the ever-expanding vegan ranges of high-street food chains and the increasing availability of vegan products in major retail outlets.

Retailers and independent shop owners who are looking to access the growing vegan market and get a piece of the vegan pie will not want to miss the upcoming VegfestUK Trade – the UK’s first dedicated vegan Trade show – on Friday October 20th 2017 at Olympia London, with a series of panel discussions tailored to independent retailers on top of up to 160 stalls showcasing a wide range of cutting edge vegan products.


Independent Retailers Lounge will provide plenty of tips for retailers on identifying the hottest items on the vegan market right now, avoiding potential pitfalls in catering to customers seeking clarity on the vegan criteria, and also increasing their sales of vegan products after the event.

Below is a brief outline of the panel discussions taking place in the Independent Retailers Lounge:

Making the most of Veganuary

Veganuary – the month of January where millions of people all over the globe try to live vegan – is a great time for retailers to launch new vegan options and tap into the exciting and growing vegan market. The creative and dynamic team from Veganuary will be hosting a panel discussion, joined by some of their partner retailers, on how businesses can make the most of the Veganuary fever and not only increase their sales of vegan products as a result, but also keep their vegan customers happy and returning.


How cruelty-free is your vegan chocolate?

Is all vegan chocolate cruelty-free, in the sense that no child slave labour is involved in the making of the chocolate in question? Social justice advocate Christopher-Sebastian McJetters heads up an engaging and thought-provocative panel which will be joined by representatives from Plamil Foods’ new vegan chocolate brand So Free Chocolate, as they discuss their own chocolate brand’s production process and how to avoid sourcing ingredients harvested from child slave labour.


Palm oil – is this a vegan issue?

The harvesting of palm trees for the production of palm oil has been a contentious issue for many, with native orangutans being displaced from their natural habitats of rainforests which are destroyed in the production process. Is the consumption of palm oil in alignment with the vegan ethos of non-exploitation then? Should vegans, therefore, avoid palm oil at all costs, or is palm oil consumption acceptable for vegans? This topic will be dissected by Olivia Haddock, associate editor of Vegan Life Magazine, and Blake Roberts, associate editor of Vegan Trade Journal.


Top priorities for vegan shoppers

What do vegan visitors to independent wholefood or health shops look for the most? How best to assist vegan shoppers in locating their coveted items, in terms of shelf layout and marketing? Mike Abrahams, partner in Wild Oats Natural Foods in Bristol, plays host to this panel discussion along with representatives from the recently opened vegan supermarket Green Bay London, and one of the UK’s most well-established wholefood companies in Alara Wholefoods.


Vegan Food Trends – what’s hot?

What are the hottest food items in the upward trend of the vegan market at the moment? What kinds of vegan food items do consumers spend the most on? Answers to these questions will be fundamental to the success of retailers looking to cash in on the expanding vegan market. Join representatives from one of the UK’s leading wholefood distributors Essential Trading Co-operative as well as one of the nation’s hottest vegan food magazines Vegan Living as they share their expert opinions on the subject.


Vegan Ready Meals

Ready meals are increasingly coming to the rescue for people who prioritise work over making their own food, and thankfully the vegan community who have been busting their guts to bring about social change don’t have to miss out on vegan editions of quick-and-easy ready meals either. Retailers and shop owners will love this panel discussion where representatives from a number of vegan ready meal businesses will discuss the unique selling points and versatility of their own brands, and share their experiences of attracting stockists who are looking to tap into a market packed full of potential. Businesses involved include rising stars One Planet Pizza(with their frozen vegan pizzas) and Matter To-fish and Chips (Bristol-based business specialising in tofu-based “fish” and chips).


Alcohol – what’s vegan, what’s not, and how to tell

As the demand for vegan food products grows, so does the demand for alcoholic drinks made without the use of animal ingredients. Pub and restaurant owners will not want to miss out on an increasing spend from vegans who will not compromise on their ethics but wouldn’t mind the occasional pint or two. This important session dissects how to tell which alcoholic drinks are vegan and which ones are not, as well as the best practices of labelling to enable customers to tell apart vegan alcoholic drinks from non-vegan ones. Andy Skene, director of Pitfield Brewery, and Alex Parker, director of The Organic Spirits Company, will be providing their expertise on the subject of vegan alcohol.


Other featured areas

The Independent Retailers Lounge is one of 6 key areas at VegfestUK Trade, with each of them looking at a different aspect of managing and growing vegan businesses. The other areas include a Plant-Based Chefs Corner with vegan recipe ideas and suggestions for catering for vegans, a Vegan Celebrity Zone featuring some of the biggest names in the vegan business and media scenes right now, a Vegan Business Support lounge with self-made entrepreneurs sharing their tips on growing vegan businesses, a Vegan Health Clinic with some of the world’s leading health figures explaining the health benefits of a plant-based diet, and a Vegan Bodycare Pavilion showcasing some of the leading vegan bodycare and beauty brands in the UK and advising on how to avoid such products which involve animal testing.

VegfestUK Trade will also play host to up to 160 stalls displaying some of the best vegan products on the market, with many of them doing one-off Trade special offers which will be ideal for potential stockists.


Trade and Media professionals can register to attend the Trade show for free at Professionals working in the health sector are encouraged to attend in addition to those from the catering, retailing, natural health, hospitality trades.

For the latest event updates, visit the show website or follow the Facebook event page here.

The show organisers extend massive thanks to the show sponsors Bute Island Foods, So Free Chocolate and Yaoh.