London Olympics: hunting vegan food

Listener Helen Louise is going to the Paralympics – which take place two weeks after the Olympics – and wants to know what the vegan options have been at the games.

Vegan spectators have shared their successes and failures at finding vegan food with the world on social media – and with us directly.

So here is the story of vegan food at the Olympics, as heard in our third and final Olympics show, told via Twitter.

  1. In the first weekend of the games, food shortages at some venues made it impossible for even vegetarians to find some food. Local vegan group London Vegans, who have appeared in a couple of our shows, asked:
  2. Two weeks before the games, I asked the press office of the organisers LOCOG what the vegan options are. I’ve even spoken to catering manager Jan Matthews on the phone, who said she’d get back to me. As of blogging, I’ve had no response from either. The UK Vegan Society also wanted to know:
  3. TheVeganSociety
    @londonvegans We know there are vegan options for the competitors but we have not been able to get info from @2012olympics on spectators.
  4. Nicola Wilson, a vegan who has competed in pistol shooting for Wales, and hopes to compete for the UK in the 2016 Olympics, came as a spectator that first weekend.
  5. nwilson79pistol
    Food available at olympic venues consist of fish &chips, pasties, sea food, gourmet sausages. Nothing healthy, vegetarian or vegan! Shocking
  6. nwilson79pistol
    I am NEVER eating McDonald’s again out of protest. I am vegan and at Olympic venue nothing to eat except chips but they are not allowed to..
  7. nwilson79pistol
    …sell them without fish! Because of McDonald’s! But mcdonalds is outside the venue and if we go out can’t get back in. I will just starve
  8. Thousands of volunteer “Games Makers” helped run the games. But this vegan volunteer says she was dependant on the canteen, which didn’t always remember her request for vegan food:
  9. jomummyjo
    Zero #vegan choice for me at #london2012 and for 2 days have gone hungry surviving on a packet of polos for lunch and dinner
  10. (“Polos” are a brand of mints.)
  11. Listener Rainbow Murray contacted us to let us know that she hadn’t found any vegan food at Olympic venues – but some people did. For example, at the Excel Centre, which hosted the boxing, wrestling, and weightlifting, Aine Carlin found a dhal she said was delicious.
  12. Some visitors were more fortunate. For example, at the Excel Centre which hosted the boxing, wrestling, and weightlifting, Aine Carlin found a dhal she said was delicious.
  13. And vegan baker Ms Cupcake found some food in the Olympic Park.
  14. The advice from other vegans who went – such as listener Will Howlaston, who you can hear in the closing show – was to bring your own food. For example:
  15. cuttyshark
    @veganoption should’ve researched before I went- couldn’t find vegan food but never mind – had a great night! The queues put me off anyway!
  16. Many people – including Nicola Wilson – believed that you couldn’t bring any of your own food. Other people were worried about this at the start of the games – when it wasn’t clear how everything would work in practice – too. Here’s some BBC advice (not vegan-specific) about taking packed lunches to the Olympic venues:
  17. Unfortunately, this only applies to Olympic venues. It doesn’t apply to the large screen viewing areas in public parks, which are run privately and commercially, and operate a strict policy of not letting people bring their own food. Not even being married to a well-known feminist wit helps.
  18. caitlinmoran
    Watching the Olympics in Hyde Park. Pete had his vegan risotto confiscated by Security #middleclasstrauma
  19. National print journalist and local blogger Ted Jeory was appalled at this, and dug into the politics of Olympic borough Tower Hamlets – which hosts a viewing area in Victoria Park – to try to explain it.
  20. But if you go to the Hyde Park viewing area, you can get vegan food there.
  21. JasminBahia
    At London Hyde Park looking forward to the men’s trampoline final! Food-wise would recommend vegan stall nourishing! http://pic.twitter.com/viaTUUVt
  22. My advice to vegans is to take a packed lunch to Paralympic Venues, and if you’re going to a “London Live” viewing area, to go to the one in Hyde Park.

    PS: Message to Caterers in the Paralympic Venues

    The Olympics catering distributor 3663 can supply you with vegan mince. If you use it to make hot vegan meals, then well-fed vegan spectators will happily share pictures of the meal on social media. And then people will blog about them, and give you publicity.

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About Ian McDonald

I'm a British new media person with a passion for radio, and interested in the kind of stories best told when we see humans as part of the world of animal minds. I blogged about why I'm producing The Vegan Option.

One response to “London Olympics: hunting vegan food”

  1. Graham says :

    Thanks for taking time to research & post this.

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