Rudy's Vegan Butcher

Vegan butcher turns food world on its head

When you hear or see the word ‘butcher’, it’s not hard to visualise all the sights and sounds of a typical butcher’s shop – the funny hat, the reddish cuts of meat behind a protective screen.

You may be fascinated to hear, then, about how a punky outfit by the name of Rudy’s has managed to set up a new butcher’s shop, but without a scrap of actual meat to be found on their counters. Rudy’s takes a retro approach to promoting a vegan lifestyle, using all the trappings of a traditional butcher’s shop and diner, but with completely different choices on offer.

Rudy’s is the brainchild of Matthew and Ruth, a young couple with a passion for educating others about animal rights and a vegan lifestyle. The diner, based in Camden, owes its name to a childhood nickname Ruth was affectionately called, and picks no bones in delivering a punky kind of vegan eating experience.

Rudy’s Vegan Butcher is celebrating a buoyant inaugural year in 2020, at a time when veganism is increasingly gaining traction across the UK. According to estimates by the Vegan Society, there were at least 600,000 vegans in the UK in 2019 – quadruple the number recorded in 2014. One thing is for sure – there’s an appetite for all things plant-based.

A fun way to go vegan

One of the things that draws people to Rudy’s is the way the diner emulates conventional burger joints in the capital. Anyone who’s had a bite at the likes of Honest Burger, GBK or many of the other meat-based burger restaurants that have popped up will feel familiar with Rudy’s Dirty Burger without quite knowing why.

The only major difference is that the patties served up are derived from soya and other high-protein based alternatives to beef and chicken. A generous dash of mayo, ketchup, onions and lettuce, and you could pass off one of their burgers for the real thing, but with a higher nutritional boost.

News about the opening of Rudy’s Vegan Butcher spread like wildfire on social media, in the run-up to World Vegan Day. By mid-morning on the first day, Rudy’s posted on Instagram, claiming to have sold out, having made 100 online sales in the first 10 minutes alone. The post was accompanied by a short video, showing a queue of hungry diners snaking down the local high-street, waiting to see what all the fuss was about.

Veganism on the rise in the UK

The strong demand for a vegan-only dining experience is a sign that the shift towards a post-meat future is that bit closer. Law firm EMW reported this summer that there had been a surge in new vegan-related food trademarks being registered in 2019.

Consumer goods company Unilever especially is accelerating activity in the vegan marketing sphere, as it trademarked a new vegan-friendly ice cream brand.

EMW also reported that there was a surge in interest around trademarks based on a common theme – the idea of being ‘beyond’ traditional ways of eating – beyond cheese, beyond meat, beyond butter and many other variations.

Many of us will remember the significant buzz generated on social media, when Greggs introduced its vegan sausage rolls last year. It all just goes to show that a plant-based diet can be popular to market, especially if it’s packaged in a faux-fast-food fashion.

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