The traditional response I receive when I ask people close to me to try
vegan foods is negative. They assume it’s gross to look at or gelatinous
or radioactive instead of truly thinking about and realizing its origin.
Veganism is a completely plant based diet. What is shady about fruits
and veggies? And the best part is that we vegans and vegetarians have
really worked with our wholesome materials to create some fantastic options.
I decided to open up some of my friends’ minds recently and have them
taste test some of my favorite vegan foods on the market. I chose my
boyfriend, Austin, a long time pescatarian and major supporter of me in
my vegan journey; my best friend Tabitha, a vegetarian open to trying
most things vegan; Tabitha’s boyfriend, Nate, a non-vegetarian with an
open mind; and our mutual friend Garrett, who is a total carnivore and
scoffs at the idea of veganism. I was excited to show them how awesome
this lifestyle is. So, I bought Gardein’s Seven Grain Chicken Tenders,
Amy’s Lentil Soup, Boca original Vegan Patties, Earth Balance Butter (to
spread on a whole grain English muffin), Silk’s Chocolate Almond Milk,
and SoDelicious Moose Tracks ice cream at my local Publix. Afterwards, I
gathered up my 4 friends participating in the taste test and showed them
how easy it is to prepare the foods purchased. Each participant got 1
chicken tender, 1 shot of lentil soup, 1/2 vegan patty, 1/2 English
muffin toasted with vegan butter, and a small glass of chocolate almond
milk. I asked each participant to provide a response. Here is the
feedback I received:
AUSTIN: Being a pescatarian, veggie meats often frequent my meals.
Growing up, my parents never cooked meat in the house, so I would only
eat it when I went out. This made my transition to an almost vegetarian
diet easy. I have to say that I loved both of the veggie meats used in
the taste test (vegan burger and chicken tenders). I am a big fan of
Amy’s brand, and always enjoy their products. The lentil soup was very
flavorful. The Earth Balance butter tasted quite similar to traditional
dairy butter and was delicious. “I can’t believe it’s not butter!” I am
sugar-free, so I did not participate in trying the Chocolate Almond
Milk, but I’ve only heard good things about the product.
TABITHA: I am a vegetarian and so I love being informed about new and
appraised meatless foods. I actually eat that specific brand of burgers
and nuggets regularly and have always enjoyed the products. I love Amy’s
brand, but this was my first time trying one of their soups. I have to
say that I was very impressed. The bread and “butter” was fantastic! I
would love to swap out my dairy butter for something as delicious as
Earth Balance. I’m not a huge fan of chocolate, but the cocoa flavor
mixed with the nutty almond milk was amazing.
NATE: I am not a vegetarian, but many people close to me are. My mother
is a vegan. I was raised on vegetarian foods and enjoy them. The taste
test was awesome. I enjoyed all of the products, especially the
chocolate almond milk. I now believe that transitioning to vegetarianism
would be easy.
GARRETT: I was not excited going into the taste test. Vegan food did
not appeal to me whatsoever, but I decided to try it at the request of
my friend and kept an open mind. The food was great! The “meats” were
flavorful and the Earth Balance was so similar to normal butter! I did
not get to try the Chocolate Almond Milk because, like Austin, I am
sugar free. I liked the soup and am now a fan of Amy’s brand after
hearing how great it is from my vegetarian friends.
Overall, the taste test was a success. I am pleased with my results and
am glad that I got the chance to share these awesome products with my
friends. I am optimistic that they will be willing to try other vegan
foods in the future.