We’ve come a long way when the L.A. Times writes that Dodger Stadium has “upped its food and drink game” by offering vegan cheese on its nachos, among other things. It wasn’t too long ago when the only vegetarian options at a ballpark were literally peanuts. As of today, most MLB stadiums (all, minus four) have vegetarian hot dogs on their menu, and many are now going with popular vegan franks. (Yankee Stadium added them to their menu this season.) Ballparks are also offering veggie burgers and options such as vegan “chicken” or “cheese steak.” Pretty cool.
That’s not to say there isn’t more progress to be made. Some ballparks limit their wonderful vegan options to suites and catering, which let’s face it, probably isn’t as big an issue anyway. It’s general concessions that matters most to us. Folks paying for suites are going to get what they want a lot faster than the many thousands of regular fans paying general admission prices. Like anything in a capitalistic society, money tends to grab business attention first, and if there isn’t much in the way of money, then it’s the amount of people asking that makes the difference. We all count; that is, if we make sure we’re counted. That’s why sharing your menu feedback directly with the ballparks (or on a general level, doing so with any place that calls you a customer) is important. Veggie Happy advocates for fans, but fans need to chime in directly too.
Here’s where progress still needs to be made. When vegan options are on the regular concessions menu, they tend to be limited to one or two stands, sometimes with very little in the way of clear signage or other indications to fans that they’re available at all, or where to find them. Those vegan franks are popular with regular consumers, not just vegetarians or vegans, which is why we advocate for them, but how will most fans know they’re available? They may not fare as well as they could or should, given true fan interest, and concession managers might take their sales numbers to mean they aren’t popular. That’s not true, the items are just not evident.
Here’s an example of that. It’s an excerpt of an email we received from a Red Sox fan about Fenway Park:
“There is only one vendor in the park selling vegetarian dogs. Its down a dead end alley, on the side of another catering area. In fact, the people in the regular lines for food blocked my sight line to even see the sign.”
The Nationals’ ballpark is a lovely exception. They notified us that veggie dogs are available at 11 total stands there this season.
We continue to contact the ballparks and update our Venue Vegetarian Guide’s MLB listings as they send confirmations of their 2015 menus. Keep checking the Guide for updates and be sure to use the contact information provided there to contact the ballparks directly with any comments or suggestions of your own. They tally fan comments and requests and yours could be the one to make the difference.
Also, for those of you who might like to promote your products, organization, events or causes through Veggie Happy, note that we now also offer select advertising on the website, which averages 6,000 hits a month. This is offered in addition to Affiliation. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like more information about Affiliation or website advertising opportunities.
April 21st, 2015
It’s been a long haul, but at long last, we’re very happy to share that New York’s Yankee Stadium will begin offering vegan frankfurters and burgers effective THIS coming Friday, April 24th!
Keep an eye on the MLB Venue Vegetarian Guide for updated concessions listings and contact information for all MLB stadiums. We’ll update the Yankees listing with the vegan frank and burger stand locations as soon as they’re confirmed.
Please use the Venue Vegetarian Guide as a resource for contacting venues with your own fan feedback. We never tire of beating the drum of advocacy and empowerment. The more fans that chime in directly, supporting and celebrating vegan options, the stronger those menu options become and the greater likelihood they’ll remain on the menu.
April 8th, 2015
IKEA will roll out its new veggie balls or “Gronsaksbullar” throughout its 40 U.S. cafeterias (except in Carson, CA) starting tomorrow, April 9. Gronsaksbullar are also vegan, as is the sauce being offered with them. The price is $4.49 for 10 balls and a side of veggies. The total caloric plate is 350 calories and the 10 balls alone are 240 calories. They are gluten, soy, dairy and GMO-free and are made from a blend of green peas, carrot, chickpeas, bell peppers, corn, kale, pea starch, seasonings, onion and canola oil.
Starting on June 30, Gronsaksbullar will also be available for purchase from the Swedish Food Court (as retail packages.)
IKEA has done a great job of celebrating this new item as “the first step to include a wider variety of nutritious and more sustainable food choices.” One of its goals in offering this item is to cut carbon emissions by offering plant-based food selections.
“We will continue to serve delicious food, offering a taste of Sweden at affordable prices, but with increasing focus on the aspects of food that are really important to people: health and sustainability,” said Michael La Cour, Managing Director of IKEA Food Services AB. “We have high ambitions, and our journey in this direction has just begun. I am proud that we now take the first step and start serving veggie balls.”
Considering that IKEA sells more than one billion meatballs per year, this is a great first step.