This weekend, we attended the 22nd annual Boston Veg Food Fest, one of the oldest of these events in the United States. The two-day event featured talks by celebrated vegan authors such as Jonathan Balcombe, JL Fields, and Michael Greger, MD, and more than 100 vendors highlighting everything from plant-based foods to the benefits of donating to animal nonprofits. And, although we’ve been to more veg fests than we can remember, something about this weekend stood out to us. That “something” was the ways in which a cruelty-free lifestyle is influencing innovators and designers in ways we never thought imaginable (hello, plant-based winter coats!). With this positive change in mind, we decided to feature four new (or new to us) companies that we think will be household names in all vegan homes in the immediate future.
1. Bauman’s Best Botanicals
You might not have heard of “drinking vinegar,” but if its popularity in Boston is an indicator, you will soon thanks to Bauman’s Best Botanicals, which had an unending crowd of customers throughout the entire fest. This delicious elixir is actually vinegar, made tasty by its creator Adam Bauman. For those of you who have been trying to enjoy the benefits of apple-cider vinegar but are put off by the taste, this concoction is for you, as the beverages can be sipped straight, added to water, mixed in a cocktail, or used as salad dressing. They provide all of the benefits of apple-cider vinegar (research suggests it helps acid reflux, lowers blood pressure, improves diabetes, and supports weight loss) without the cringe-inducing taste. These delightful drinks—which are also called “shrubs”—come in Tangerine & Lavender, Cucumber & Spice, Berry & Herb, and Nectarine & Spice.
2. Wully Outerwear
If you’ve been to a veg fest this year in the northeastern portion of the United States or Canada, you might have seen the impressive Wully Outerwear booth featuring high-quality all-vegan winter coats. Based in Toronto, this company knows how to protect its customers from frigid cold winters in style. In addition to an all-vegan ethic, Wully ensures high labor standards and works to use environmentally friendly fabrics with production that leaves a low carbon footprint. These cozy coats for men and women are available in a variety of functional and great-looking styles (including parkas, quilted jackets, and vests), all available via the company’s website. Wully donates a portion of all proceeds to animal causes, so in addition to saving lives with your cruelty-free coat, the money you spend on it will help animals, too.
3. The Fanciful Fox Handmade Soaperie
Based in Brooklyn, NY, The Fanciful Fox Handmade Soaperie is a 100-percent vegan (and vegan-owned) business that crafts deliciously scented plant-based soaps, deodorants, body butters, and other fun skincare and bath products for men and women. Fanciful Fox started as a hobby between mother (Kathie Fox) and daughter (Amanda Fox), but quickly growing into the popular business that it is today. Folks lined up at Boston Veg Food Fest to secure a few bath fizzies in scents such as Witchy Brew and Dead Sea, as well as colorful soaps in asymmetrical shapes that promised to make bathtime a lot more fun. Kathie and Amanda’s personal favorites are Black Magic (a facial cleansing scrub), The Moroccan Specialty skin serum, and their bar soaps, which come in scents such as Air of Mystery and Brooklyn Winter.
4. Elmhurst plant-based milks
The story of Elmhurst Milked encapsulates everything we love about the vegan movement: the growth of veganism, the decrease in consumer demand for animal-based milks, and a business deciding to go cruelty-free—ending the cycle of suffering for countless animals. Elmhurst Milked began in New York City in the early 1900s as “Elmhurst Dairy,” farming cows for their secretions and eventually selling milk to a metropolitan area of 7 million people. Recently, however, the company completely dropped the dairy from both their business and their name and have transitioned into a 100-percent plant-based milk company, offering milked almonds, cashews, walnuts, and hazelnuts. In a market that now offers a variety of plant-based milks, these creamy milks are delightful in coffee and tea, or served straight in a glass. Elmhurst prides itself on using no emulsifiers, thickeners, or stabilizers (which are found in some other brands).
Maya Gottfried is the author of Vegan Love: Dating and Partnering for the Cruelty-Free Gal and Our Farm: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary.