VegFest Oahu’s Free Vegan Samples Tent was nothing short of an incredible success! Thanks to our generous contributors, we handed out thousands of vegan samples to attendees. The lines never stopped. The crowd was diverse and many had never tried vegan meats and cheeses before. It was absolutely amazing to be able to be front and center in educating our local community about the wide variety of tasty plant-based alternatives to animal products.
Article by Christina Culianos, Free Samples Tent Manager 2017
Thanks to Field Roast, we were able to make mini deli roll up bites which were a huge hit. We used a variety of their deli meats and cheeses with Follow Your Heart Veganaise. People were so amazed on how good they were. We had all the ingredients and product info on display which really helped people make that visual connection to the brand. Now they will recognize the packaging in grocery stores. Many people said they didn’t even know these products existed and didn’t realize that making a vegan deli meat and cheese sandwich is an option. The VegFest Oahu Free Vegan Samples Tent showed them that they don’t need to give up sandwiches or “basics” when they go vegan.
One of our most popular sample items was our preparation of the Field Roast sausage in organic pre-made tomato sauce. We received so many compliments and questions on the “meat sauce”. When attendees realized that all it consisted of is a big can of organic tomato sauce and a few packages of Field Roast Italian Sausage cut up and thrown in a pot – it was like an AH HA moment for them. They couldn’t believe that they could actually make a vegan meal for their family so quickly, with just a few ingredients, and the products are affordable.
That same moment came again when we were serving jackfruit products from the Jackfruit Company who generously donated items. Jackfruit is this crazy delicious under-rated fruit that is so diverse. It is free from soy, gluten, nuts and cholesterol. It is low calorie and rich in fiber. Because it is harvested before it ripens, there’s no sugar in the fruit. It adapts to spices and flavorings and looks like shredded meat, but it’s cruelty-free. People were astounded that you can use jackfruit for tacos, pulled “pork” sliders, teriyaki bowls, and more. The Jackfruit Company makes pre-flavored products like Teriyaki Jackfruit, which served over rice and veggies results in a delicious and healthy teriyaki bowl in minutes. Or throw a pouch of their unflavored jackfruit product in a pan with some peppers and onions and you can make a taco quickly and easily. It’s worth a try to buy some products from the Jackfruit Company.
We also received donated products from Primal Spirit Foods which is a vegan jerky. They are packed with protein and is perfect for an “on the go” snack. They donated samples of their Texas BBQ, Hickory Smoked, and Hot & Spicy vegan jerky. Many of the attendees said they actually preferred Primal Strips over beef jerky. It really just comes down to exposure and education.
Kite Hill is another wonderful company with delicious dairy-free spreads, vegan cheeses, and yogurts. Because of their support and donations, we were able to sample their Artisan Almond Milk Soft Fresh Truffle Dill & Chive Cream Cheese and their Artisan Almond Milk Ricotta. We put out fresh veggies and crackers and people went nuts. Once again, they were shocked by how good a dairy-free cream cheese or ricotta cheese can be. Kite Hill says, “You shouldn’t have to choose between good taste and good ethics. Kite Hill makes it easy — and delicious — to reduce your environmental impact. No matter how you slice it, plant-based diets are kind to the earth and kind to animals”
Follow Your Heart donated their creamy, delicious plant-based veganiase, dressings, Parmesan, pepper-jack, and mozzarella cheese. We also got to put the VeganEgg on display which was a wonderful opportunity to open conversation on the idea of an egg being vegan, yes its possible! We used their bleu cheese & ranch dressings in our Field Roast mini deli roll up bites. They can also be used as salad dressings and much more. We put the Parmesan cheese in our tomato sauce with Field Roast Sausage which gave it a nice little kick. We showed people how vegan condiments can compliment a vegan meal, just like it does with non-vegan products. Follow Your Heart Veganaise and Ranch Salad dressing are addicting! They make it easy to get rid of those processed, high calorie milk-based dressings and give Follow Your Heart brand a try. Once those staple condiments are in the refrigerator, it becomes easy to make meals that are vegan and healthy and still creamy and delicious.
It was so rewarding to overhear attendees interacting with each other as they tried all the different samples. Most were pleasantly surprised on how good all the samples were.
VegFest Oahu helped these wonderful plant-based brands become more mainstream through exposure to attendees at our Free Samples Tent. These products make it easier to make the change to vegan choices with all the variety of delicious plant-based options that are healthier for you, healthier for the environment, and cruelty free. The hardest part for many people is breaking out of their routine. Many don’t know how to begin, where to shop, how to cook without animal products. At times it can feel intimidating but it should, in fact, be exciting and adventurous. A whole new world of recipes and products opens up when people begin asking these questions. Eating this way leads to increased energy and positive results, both mentally and physically.