Why I’m becoming a Trade Show Vegan for 2020 – and pushing plant power

2019 was the year veganism made it big. You couldn’t move for all things plant-based, as the wave of people ditching animal products grew and grew.

So what does 2020 hold in store? Well, more of the same, by the looks of it. Veganuary – which involves going vegan for January – is bigger than ever before, with major fast food retailers falling over themselves to unveil the latest addition to their vegan range.

Here at M&IT we’ve been flexing our investigative skills by testing out these new snacks and are pleased to report that Greggs’ new Vegan Steak Bake is “completely delicious in every way”. However, the KFC Vegan Burger fared less well with our panel, who advised that it was alright “only if you are starving and there is nothing else around”.

The proliferation of vegan options has, on the face of it, made cutting animal products from our diets easier than ever. But exactly how easy? Let me tell you a little story.

Last month I attended the Associations Congress UK at ICC Birmingham. Lunch on the first day consisted of a range of street food-style stalls. Eyeing up the various options, I opted for a tasty-looking lentil curry and rice with a cauliflower bhaji. It was only after I’d scoffed the lot that I realised I’d had the vegan option.

That bowl of curry got me thinking about the implications of going vegan in the event industry. Sure, I’d had a delicious lunch, but that’s just one meal. If I was vegan, what would I have had for breakfast? What would I be eating that evening?

If you’re a vegan away at a conference, you’re very much at the mercy of whatever options are available in and around the venue. In Birmingham, I decided I would probably have been alright – but I didn’t know for sure.

It was then that I decided that in 2020 I am going to become a Trade Show Vegan. That means, at every trade show I attend this year, be it The Meetings Show or Confex, IMEX or IBTM World, I will follow a plant-based diet for the duration.

I’m interested to see the reality of being vegan at a show, how easy – or hard – it will turn out to be. And I’ll be blogging about my experiences for your plant-based pleasure, so you can follow the highs and lows of being a Trade Show Vegan.

In the meantime, if there are any event professionals out there with any tips on where to get an animal-free feast in downtown Frankfurt, or plant burgers in Barcelona, please do get in touch via the usual channels…