Gene Roddenberry, creator of the Star Trek series, brought meaningful and thought-provoking science fiction to “think, question, and challenge the status quo” to audiences across the globe, with the intention of creating “a brighter future”. In 2010, Gene’s son Rod established the Roddenberry Foundation to build on his father’s legacy and philosophy of inclusion, diversity, and respect for life.
As part of the annual Roddenberry Prize grant, which this year focuses on innovative approaches to Climate Change, the foundation recently awarded $250,000 to the vegan startup Green Monday for converting 1.6 million Hong Kong residents to a plant-based diet. Read more
Under pressure from the dairy industry, the government is trying make it so that plant-based alternatives to dairy can’t use the terms “milk”, “butter” or “cheese” on their product labels. The excuse is that the consumer can’t tell the difference between dairy milk and soy milk, and so may be confused. It doesn’t take a PhD to know that almonds, coconuts, rice and cashews don’t come from a cow! Read more
The Great British Bake off is a popular British TV show featuring a group of amateur bakers who are challenged to bake three different creations each week in a limited amount of time. At the end of each week, the judges eliminate one contestant, until the winner of the Great British Bake Off emerges.
This week, the challenges are all focused around using non-dairy products, so it’s been labelled “vegan week”. Some regular viewers are horrified, thinking that baking can’t be done without dairy products, but the show is calculated to appeal to a younger audience, in a country where a significant percentage of the younger population are transitioning to veganism.
The episode kicks-off, as ever, with the signature challenge which will see the bakers tasked with preparing eight savory tartlets – four with one filling and four with another – with a short crust pastry. For their showstopper, the bakers must whip up a vegan celebration cake that is “inventive and visually exciting”. There aren’t any stipulations – the cake can look however the contestants want – but it must be made from plant-based ingredients. It sounds like many contestants may be taking quick lessons about how to use aquafaba – the water left after cooking beans – as the base for vegan meringues!
Look out for the vegan Great British Bake Off (Series 2 Episode 7) when they release the latest season on Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, PBS and other TV options.
Oh, yes! Starbucks just added a new vegan cold beverage to its permanent menu. The Iced Vanilla Bean Coconutmilk Latte is now a permanent offering. This vegan espresso beverage will keep you going all year long.
The new beverage is part of their commitment to serving more plant-based options. This demonstrates that Starbucks has confidence in the growing plant-based trend. Starbucks has made significant strides in better catering to its vegan customers. In recent months, it has added vegan macadamia cookies, 3D popsicles, protein-packed cold brews, packaged savory wraps, and coffee smoothies in select locations. The company has also expanded its snack range, offering vegan Hippeas packs, and Justin’s peanut and almond butter cups.
Other coffee companies have also gotten into the act. For instance, Peet’s Coffee has vegan whipped cream. It also has a “Coffee Meets Coconut” summer menu which included 3 vegan-friendly beverages made with the new whip.
Let’s hope all the coffee shops continue to increase their plant-based options.
Californians who are in a hospital, nursing home or prison may soon be able to choose a totally plant-based diet. State Senator Nancy Skinner has introduced Senate bill 1138, which requires these institutions to make a vegan meal available to those who request it. While the option of a vegetarian meal was already required, this new bill allows for the option of meat-free, fish-free, dairy-free and totally vegan meals. Read more
Investors who are interested in supporting forward-thinking alternatives to the current food system are likely to be interested in plant-based investment strategies. Plant-based investing means supporting the transition from animal-based products to plant-based products, through the companies in which one invests.
Just as most vegetarians and vegans would never consider buying meat products, those who can invest have no desire to buy mutual funds that own companies that profit from the exploitation of animals. Fortunately, most sustainable funds steer clear of the worst offenders (like factory farms), but a few do own companies such as fast food chains, which sell a lot of animal products, so investors should look into the details. Another way they can support plant-based investing is by investing in fund companies which are engaged in shareholder advocacy on this topic.
Investors are increasingly recognizing the power and promise of this investment strategy – whether they call it plant-based investing, vegan investing, or cruelty-free investing. If you have a financial advisor or mutual fund company, let them know today that you are looking for vegan investment opportunities. The rest of us, along with the animals, will thank you for it!