I’m Nicole: founder of Veeg, vegan burger addict and dedicated dog-lover (among other things). We launch our blog around a month before Veeg goes live in Brighton, so I thought I’d kick off by explaining what it’s all about...

Dinner at Erpingham House, Norwich. The largest vegan restaurant in the UK and one of my faves to date.

I moved to Brighton 18 months ago, knowing I wanted to start up a business. I’d spent the previous ten years working in technology and financial services and the last four of those setting up businesses with other people’s money. I decided to put my own money where my vegan mouth was.

Why Veeg?

First and foremost: plant based eating has the potential to change the world in so many ways: environment, health and being a hell of a lot kinder to animals. And whilst it’s massively encouraging to see the number of people who are now adopting a vegan diet once or twice a week (one in two people, depending on what you read); we need more people adopting the lifestyle as a whole - and talking about it - if change is going to happen.

Also, I am one. A Veeg, that is. Even the most basic business book will tell you to set up a business related to something you are passionate about.

Veeg is about making veganism accessible and affordable. Showing that plant-based eating is not about feeling deprived. Bringing together people who care about the same cause and using the strength in numbers to get more variety on the menus and bring the cost down. It’s about helping people to understand why. It’s about pushing what is actually a very serious message...and having a bit of fun along the way.

But firstly: why it’s important….

We have just over ten years to make significant change.

In October 2018, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report saying that we have until 2030 to prevent climate change catastrophe. Among other things, the report states that carbon emissions would need to be cut by 45%.

Photo cred: @travellermorgan

But despite this, the message isn't resonating. Many of us disconnect from what we read and hear because we simply don’t know what we can do about it; because we don’t believe that just one person can make a difference or because we feel that the changes we need to make are too difficult. And some of us don't even get the message because our Instagram feeds are full of 'other' information.

None of this is actually true.

According to Veganuary, going vegan for a year could save 365 animals, 1000sqm of forest, 3320kg of CO2 and 6607kg of grain. Or, more simply put:

‘A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on the planet….It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car.’

Joseph Poore, quoted in the Independent, 01.06.18

The above quote - probably one of the most powerful and simple I’ve read yet - came from a recent study published in top scientific journal ‘Science’. University of Oxford researchers who wrote the paper found that following a vegan diet could reduce your carbon footprint from food by 73%.

The study, which started out as an investigation into sustainable meat and dairy farming, quickly led to the lead researcher cutting out meat and dairy from his diet one year into the five year research programme.

It’s about much more than CO2:

Changing the farming landscape will also free up more wild land. This is one of the main causes of mass wildlife extinction. And that’s just the macro level. Is your cow’s milk latte really worth taking a baby calf away from its mother for? (One for another post.)

We now live in a world, at least in the West, where we have suitable alternatives. Don’t like the way almond milk mixes with your coffee? Get oatmilk instead (the most popular milk alternative in a recent Veeg poll). That stuff froths goooood. And don’t get me started on the array of vegan burgers available in Brighton, or I’ll be here all day.

Doing one of the things I do best: eating an Honest Plant Burger at Holler Brewery

And did you know the government recommended fruit and veg intake is actually 10 a day?

Not five, as some of our food packaging would have us believe:

‘What we eat now is a greater cause of disease and death than either tobacco or alcohol. In 2015, around 7 million people died from tobacco smoke, and 2.75 million from causes related to alcohol, but 12million deaths could be attributed to ‘dietary risks.’’ - The Guardian, review of The Way We Eat Now by Bee Wilson, 16.03.2019

This info may not come as a surprise to you. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Over the coming months, we’ll be speaking with bloggers, sports personalities, scientists and regular Veegs to help decode what can sometimes feel like a minefield of conflicting info: ‘Is it really good for your health?’, ‘The role of activism’ and, the burning question on everyone’s mind right now: ‘What is the best vegan sausage roll?’.

What’s next?

Launching in Brighton in May, Veeg will bring you deals, discounts and events from a select handful of restaurants and cafes around Brighton. Some 100% vegan, some not. Some high end, some fast food, some in between. All vegan food only.

For launch, we’re keeping it simple: just show the card you download to your phone at participating locations and you’ll get whatever deal they are offering. Our developers are excited about some of the things we’ll be building through Veeg later, but right now, it’s all about getting off the ground and making things work.

Subscribing to Veeg, whether you’re based in Brighton or not, will bring you some extra surprises on a monthly basis. And don’t worry...we have a national expansion plan in hand. But for now, we’ve got to start at the beginning. Brighton. Where it’s at.

So if you haven’t subscribed already, pop your email in the box and if you’ve got something to say, reply direct to the email, get in touch via our site, Facebook or Instagram. I want to hear from you.

In the meantime, we’re cracking on finishing building the Veeg card and refining the offerings with some of the most forward-thinking places in B-Town.