Scotland Vegan Festival brings world foods to Hampden Park

18 March 2019

Photograph: Qian Zhao

On 9 March, Scotland’s largest vegan festival was held by Vegan Events UK at Hampden Park, Scotland’s national stadium. It provided an opportunity for vegans, vegetarians and those who are simply curious to try exciting foods, exchange ideas and contribute towards charitable causes.

Photograph: Qian Zhao.

More than 80 booths throughout the stadium were filled with homemade foods, some familiar and others exotic. Family-friendly activities including yoga, drawing, and food and drink tasting ensured that all attendees could get involved.

Victoria Bryceson, Events Manager at Vegan Events UK, reported that this was the fifth time the Scotland Vegan Festival had been held in Glasgow. She added that “each year, more and more visitors come through the door.” Interestingly, there has also been an increase in non-vegans attending the event.

This rise of non-vegan attendees is reflective of Glasgow’s own growing vegan and vegetarian communities. According to the Vegetarian Association, the number of British people who have switched to vegan diets has more than quadrupled over the past decade, with Glasgow ranked second in the 2016 “Top Ten Vegetarian Cities in the UK.”

Photograph: Qian Zhao

While the popularity of veganism has soared in recent years, many of those who transition to a vegan lifestyle have trouble maintaining their new diets. A 2014 study conducted by The Humane Research Council and Harris Interactive found that 84% of American adults who attempted veganism returned to their original diets afterwards.

Ms. Hamilton, a festival attendee, said: “I am starting a vegan diet for the second time. It is not easy to completely get rid of old eating habits.”

There are many charitable organisations which help people overcome the hurdles they face when attempting to change their diets. One organisation, The Vegan Society, has existed as an educational charity since 1944. Victoria Bryceson praised the society, saying: “You can ask questions online, which is very helpful for people who miss the foods from before, because you can find alternatives through the answers.”  

Photograph: Qian Zhao

Another potential obstacle for aspiring vegans is the influence of friends and family. Many people report that committing to a vegan lifestyle can be difficult in a household where everyone else enjoys eating meat. According to Victoria, a family of vegans and non-vegans can still enjoy meals together: “I’m the only vegan in my family, but my mum’s been really good. For instance, if she’s cooking beef, she could find me a vegan beef wellington – that way I’m not left out, and nobody is looking at my plate thinking that my food is weird.”

Victoria also reported that before veganism gained the attention it has today, it was difficult to find non-animal sourced products in stores; a stark contrast to today, with more than 100 vegan restaurants in Glasgow, and large vegan sections in most major supermarkets.

The vegan festival will be hitting Glasgow again on 23 and 24 November at Trades Hall. Aspiring vegans and those who would just like to try some interesting food are invited to go along.

For more news on the event, Glasgow’s vegan community and veganism in general, you can visit the  Glasgow Vegan Festival Facebook page.

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