Edit- Heyy, I’m just reading this back to myself, and to be self critical, I haven’t made it that engaging, and I don’t really know what to change to make it more so either! I would still however recommend giving it a read though, as it is about an interesting topic, and it’ll help you choose where to go for food once this lockdown is over (sorry). I am not going to end up as a food journalist, so it’s ok…..
Who remembers a time where we used to be able to go out and get food from places like Greggs, Subway and Maccys. Nah, me neither…
But believe it or not, once upon a time, these places were actually open to the public so we could buy fast foods ready made for us. Yeah, crazy. In fact as recent as March, places like this were open, selling lovely burgers, sausage rolls and pizzas! Bet it’s all coming back to you now 😉
Maybe you even remember all the fuss that was made back in January, where loades of fast food places increased their number of options for us, including those places you may not necessarily expect. We all know about the amount of piss take which went with Greggs launching their “vegan sausage Roll”, but you may not be so familiar with their new(ish) vegan stake bakes, McDonald’s new “vegan dippers” and even new so called vegan burgers produced by Burger King and KFC, which I discovered which aren’t even suitable for vegans, so I rest my case.
Anyway, I was actually aiming to try some of these new foods before writing a post about it, however I haven’t got round to trying as many of these as what I would have liked to have done so. Yet for once, I actually have a legitimate excuse! So I’ve decided that I will rank the new vegan foods which I have tried, as well as ones which were previously available in chain restaurants. Meanwhile I will stste what options are out there which I haven’t actually tried yet. I also thought it would be cool to expose those foods which chains are claiming to be “vegan” which are not actually vegan, so you don’t have to try them either. Oh, and for record…I am not actually vegan. Oops, I do apologise. Though I am mainly veggie and currently just eat free range fish… Maybe one day though; I like all animals and I care about the environment and that…
1. Subway- Meatless Mariana (8/10)
So the first thing I will rank is the “balls for all” “Meatless mariana” from Subway. Judging from the name, this sounds pretty funky and I mean it tastes pretty good as well to be honest. It obviously depends what you choose to have alongside the actual balls as well, but that is up to you! But for me I found that the amount of “balls” I got was more substantial than most off these “veggie” substitutes where you may not get that much stuff. Take the vegan patties from there, which have existed for as long as I remember anyway, they don’t have as much in them lets say, and it is pretty standard for a veggie option. Therefore I also find the balls are nice for variety too. Also the vegan cheese used pretty good too!
2. Pizza Express- Giardiniera (10/10)
Phew, I cannot pronounce this let alone spell it haha! Had to copy and paste… As long as you aren’t one of these people who won’t eat vegetables. The cheese on it is quite distinctive, and I ppersoonally love it. However I know a lot of vegans aren’t too keen on vegan cheese, as most of it doesn’t really taste much like cow’s cheese, and like I said, it is quite distinctive. However if you are more open tto vegan cheese, or you actually like it, like I do, then I would definitely recommend it!
3. McDonald’s “Veggie sticks” (4/10)
Ok, so to be honest, these weren’t bad, at all. But there wasn’t much to them. However I wasn’t too happy to pay 4 pounds for 4 small sticks when you pay less for an individual “Big Mac”, whilst a standard cheeseburger remains at 99p. I am sorry, but i personally don’t think this should be acceptable, as it feels to me thay are trying to take advantage of people who may be devoted vegans, who would be willing to pay more, as they don’t really have much alternative choice (apart from go elsewhere, which makes most sense really!). However next time I end up in there, I shall definitely stick to the old “Veggie Deluxe”, as at least I know there is more to it, oh and it’s cheaper…
Not going to lie, but part of the cost was optional.. It actually came to 3 pound something, but you could opt to round it to £4 and the rest would go to charity. Which i did. But they ought to have that option for all these Big Mac’s too!
4. Zizzie- Vegan Jackfruit Pizza (9/10)
This is definitely something worth trying, and it is very different from usual vegan options, even including pizzas. To start with, although i am sure it had existed long before, it was the first time I had come across Vegan pepporni, let alone made from Jackfruit. Now it didn’t taste exactly like pepporoni, but there again I wouldn’t know because it has been years since I have tried it. But I feel itt was most definitely better than most meat substitutes you get. One slight issue for me, was that I found it a little too sppicy,, especially with those nasty red peppers, but not so bad that I had to be constantly drinking water with it. And I also think it is good tht some places are finally trying to aim their vegan alternatives towards vaarious tastes and preferences, like with the spicy option.
5. Greggs- Vegan Stake Bake (3/10)
Ok. So there wasn’t actually anything wrong with it, and I don’t want to discourage anyone from trying this just because I personally didn’t like it. As i think it is more to do with preferences rather than actual quality when it comes to this. But for me, the “Vegan Stake Bake” didn’t really do much. I found it quite bland, had a rather unpleasant taste about it and I do not like gravey. However really this migh actually say something good about Greggs! Although I didn’t like it at all, I have never liked stake meat, or gravey when I used to eat meat (literally years ago haha), so this may suggest that greggs are poroducing stuff which tastes very ssimmilar to the real thing. Which although I love variety, it can definitely be good to have it very similar too, as i know some people considering going veggie/vegan or those who already are, would and do miss meat.
Perhaps this is a similar to the vegan sausage rolls. Which I would definitely give 9 or 10/10, and I guess they taste quite similar to the real thing.
So I am going to put a list here of other Vegan foods you can get from Fast food outlets, just to tempt you all and to be a pain in the butt. But then is is all of this fast food veganism worthwile?
So other newish vegan options in the UK, include Pizza Hut’s vegan “pepperphoni” pizza, KFC “zero chicken burger”, Costa coffee’s vegan “Ruby” hot chocolate, Costa’s vegan strawberry Croissant, Starbucks Vegan Smoky Jackfruit grains, Starbucks vegan beetroot wrap, Café Nero Vegan Vegetable sausage roll, Dunkin Donuts Vegan hash Browns and Oatmeal (porriadge FFS), and many other mainstream fast food ooutlets offering vaster ranges of vegan foods
Finally as usual, it is harrd to tell what the genuine intentions of these restaurants are. Realistically, if you were a long term, die hard vegan, you wouldn’t begin going to McDonalds because they have released another vegan burger. However we all quite aware of veganism as a growing trend (especially back in January), and “flexatarianism”, where people who may still be frequent meat consumers, may increasingly try out vegan foods, and alternatives. Some in order to help the environment, some to keep up with what their friends, and some just out of genuine curiosity. To me it seems most likely that restaurants are increasing their vegan options, just to keep up with consumer demand, rather than due to a moral obligation. Hence why so many new vegan options were introduced in January, in response to many people wanting to give up meat for the month, or just to be “healthier”. In contrast, It is most likely however that the owners of small cafes and resterants which specialise in Vegetarian and vegan food, do want to increase the availability of vegan food partly for their sake, being likely to be non meat eaters themselves. Therefore I part of this vegan movement is in response toa deep down moral rooting, at firsst not being as cclear to where from as it seems. But at the end of the day, as more people become aware of the benefits of not eating meat, be it animal welfare, the environment or health reasons, the more people become curious to why they choose to turn to veganism and are interested to try vegan alternatives themselves. Maybe not being so convinced as to give up meat, they may choose just to try vegan options rather than stick to them, and make a massive thing about it whenever they do so. This is where all these crazy trends bloosom from, and the more people involved, the more of the biggest firms have to respond to this increased demand. Which in a way is good I guess, they are responding and hopefully benefitting the animals, the health of people and the environment in the long run. Nevertheless whilst many vegans and veggies may be greatful that they, well could, go along with their meat eating friends and actually be able to eat something, many are far from convinced.
A Greenpeace article titled “Are fast food companies really going vegan?” stated that “the fast food business model, which centres around increasing the sales of meat-based dishes, is incompatible with preventing the destruction of the world’s precious forests”. Therefore we cannot really relay on fast food firms to help cut the meat production and consumption, as their real incentive is to maximise sales, and realistically the people who go to these places the most, are those who love meat. However they did say it was “a tiny step in the right direction”, and I feel that because of these trends, there is plenty of room for veganism alternatives in these meat devoted chains. Yet again, should we really be rushing off to these places that have previously been absolutely stuck to the sale of meat, can’t even be trusted to use the right oil, and are basically massive corporations, where owners are millionaires. Whilst owners and workers of small, ethical, family run chains are currently terrified of the prospect they may no longer have a job, after this lockdown ends, as we will all rush off to the cheap fast food outlets,frequently purchasing dare I say… crap, (most likely myself included…)
So wow. All this “petty” veganism thing, isn’t just about middle class gals in their teens and 20s wanting to tip off a bit of weight. It isn’t even just about the massive potential to promote environmental sustainability and help animan welfare. It is business, economics and at the moment, can cost people’s lives… Not just “via climate change”…
So whenever all this is over, I expect I will be rushing into Greggs to buy one of their Vegan Sausage rolls. Like if no one does, they will eventually go down I guess. However I will also make sure to visit small businesses when I can, especially Vegetarian and Vegan specialising firms. As I think more people would be less likely to go to these small places due to having less money, but every small purchase helps!