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Vegans in vogue

With more than two million Australians identifying as vegan or vegetarian and market researcher Euromonitor International identifying Australia as the third-fastest-growing vegan market in the world, it’s no surprise that the availability of vegan foods in Perth is also on the rise.

According the The Vegan Society, founded in the UK in 1944, veganism is “a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose”.

Natalie Guy is tapping into this growing market at La Lida Vegan in Wembley, Perth’s only vegan-specific grocery store.

“We are a bit unique in the fact we are the only store in Perth that ships out vegan-specific products,” Guy said.

Gelatin-free vegan marshmallows from La Vida Vegan.
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Gelatin-free vegan marshmallows from La Vida Vegan.Picture: Iain Gillespie

The former veterinary nurse became a vegetarian when she was nine and turned to veganism about four years ago. She opened the store in November 2015.

“I just found it really difficult to find any vegan products,” she said.

“And the vegan products I did find, I would have to go to one shop to find a certain product and then I would have to go to another shop to get another product. It was just really difficult, so I thought why not bring it all together and put it into one store, make it easy for people, bring in staff that are really knowledgeable about vegan cooking and about the products so they can make transitioning to vegan a lot easier than what it was before.”

The bricks-and-mortar and online store also attracts non-vegans, such as people with dairy and egg allergies.

Noshing Naturally locally-made dairy-free cheese form La Vida Vegan.
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Noshing Naturally locally-made dairy-free cheese form La Vida Vegan.Picture: Iain Gillespie

“We do see a lot of people coming in with allergies and a lot of breastfeeding mothers whose babies are intolerant to dairy, eggs, sometimes things like soy as well, so they are coming in to help their baby get through the breast milk stage. As well as those coming in for the ethical side of veganism as well,” she said.

“It is great there are a lot of specialty IGAs and stores that are increasing their vegan range and obviously Woolworths and Coles are getting on it as well.

“Some people probably wouldn’t even have known what veganism was four years ago but it is becoming mainstream and it helps with Woolworths and Coles and the main producers jumping on board. “The store here is great for people who really are sensitive to seeing the meat and animal products — they can obviously come in here and not have to worry about that.”

Beyond Burgers from La Vida Vegan.
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Beyond Burgers from La Vida Vegan.Picture: Iain Gillespie

Popular products include faux meat from Beyond Burger and Gardein, marshmallows and chocolate-coated honeycomb as well as vegan fish sauce and mayonnaise. She also stocks baked goods from Honey’s Bakehouse in Roleystone on Fridays.

While Guy agreed you could now go pretty much anywhere and order something vegan, some people were still confusing vegan and gluten free.

La Vida Vegan is at 290C Cambridge Street, Wembley and online at lavidavegan.com.au

For more vegan treats see Honey’s Bakehouse

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