While veganism may once have been a rarity, it seems that ethical eating has gained plenty of momentum in recent years.
As more and more diners seek out plant-based meals the restaurant scene is following suit, with big name Sydney eateries Gigi Pizzeria, Gelato Blue and Soul Burger all moving to plant-based menus.
But it’s not just in the city where things are changing; local businesses are also starting to respond to customer demand.
One of the businesses leading the charge is Naked Flame Craft Pizza in South Penrith, a woodfired pizzeria that currently offers six vegan pizzas as part of its menu.
After some initial skepticism to his sister’s move to veganism, owner Chris Chandler eventually came around to the idea of ethical eating and when it was time to open the pizzeria, he had no doubt there would be plant-based meals on the menu.
As it turned out the choice was a smart business decision, with the pizzas attracting an overwhelmingly positive response from customers.
“Within a few weeks the first vegans came out and tried the menu, put it on one of the vegan Facebook pages and we’ve now had people coming from as far as Manly to try our pizza,” Mr Chandler said.
Other local vegan friendly businesses include Go Primal in Penrith and Monte’s Pizza in Blaxland, which both offer a substantial range of vegan options.
There’s also local vegan food companies like Yum Artisan Creations, Rawsome Creations and Kinda Bacon, along with On Plate Ethics, a Penrith-based home delivered vegan meal service.
People who follow a vegan lifestyle avoid the use of all animal products including meat, dairy, eggs, honey, leather, fur and wool. There’s a wide range of reasons why people choose to follow a vegan lifestyle including ethical, environmental and health concerns.
Local resident Rachel O’Reilly went vegan just over a year ago and while she finds most places are happy to modify meal options to suit her diet, she does tend to gravitate towards eateries that offer vegan meals.
“If I know somewhere has vegan options, or they’re at least friendly and responsive to the questions, I will return,” she said.
“Over time people are becoming more and more ethical and I really think that this is something that’s going to keep growing,” Mr Chandler added.