As a girl who enjoys eating in a similar style to a bear about to go in hibernation, I value the simple thing in life, such as large portions and affordable food. As I’m sure all my fellow vegan pals can agree, going to an all vegan café or browsing in the health food shop with dosh to spend could be compared to the excitement of tearing open presents on Christmas day.
So why is it that many of the vegan cafes and health food shops have left a sour taste in my mouth… and a grumble in my belly? Well that could be due to the fact that they are ripping us off.
I had this light bulb moment the day I went shopping for cacao, for a nifty vegan slice recipe. There I was in the health food shop where everything and everyone beamed health and wholesomeness however my happy health focused mood plummeted when I found the cacao I was looking for at $22.00 a kg. Srsly?
Later that week I stumbled across it again at an Aldi store where it was $3.70 for just under a kilo. Now I’m all for supporting small businesses and understand the need to make a profit but being at five times the price of another store is extremely, well um extreme!
Surely this is one off thing, the health gurus and fellow vegans care about ethics not commodities? I am a girl with hope, so I gave this community the benefit of the doubt and kept spreading my reaches to new vegan cafes. Sadly I left another vegan café $15 poorer and yearning for more food. Portions so small I feel despair even mentioning them, three rolls the size of my very tiny fingers laid on that plate. THREE!
The straw that broke the camels back was when a health food shop was selling common fruit such as apples for $16 per kg. Fkn apples! People are starving all over the world and there are people buying apples for $16 a kg. That’s when it dawned on me, identifying as vegan and trying to eat organically comes with a status and a price tag.
Plant based and organic food is a fad right now, it's cool to 'care' and oh, how these shop owners are taking advantage of it. Trends that were traditionally associated with hippy culture, due to low costs and ethical standards are now being exploited for consumerism.
You slap the word vegan, organic or my favorite, super food, onto a label and suddenly they’re entitled to double the price. While not catastrophic, the effects are dull, these actions implement classism into our eating habits. Your plate should not dictate your social standing.
My advice? Grow your own veggie patch at home and feed your hungry soul as many servings as you see fit.
Image: Gemma Van Heyst