Vegan Campaigner Hits Back At Critics Ahead of Brighton Vegan Festival

Vegan Campaigner Hits Back At Critics Ahead of Brighton Vegan Festival

Leading Vegan Campaigner Hits Back At Critics Ahead Of Brighton Vegan Festival

A prominent champion of the vegan lifestyle has stated that they “completely disagree” with recent detractions of the movement.

A-Level Student at East Sussex College Lewes, Robert Stevens, 20, and the owner of the business ‘Sussex Vegan,’ has defended against the notion that veganism has become a marketplace that is too expensive for many, as well as merely a replacement for healthy eating.

His comments have been made ahead of the ‘Brighton Vegan Festival’ on Sunday 18th November, which is being held at the Grand Hotel Brighton. As a previous attendee of the event, Stevens has claimed that the event will be “very packed” with the turnout being “over a thousand at least.”

The support for veganism has dramatically increased worldwide in recent years, and according to the Independent, a 2018 study by ‘’ has found that ‘there has been a significant spike in the number of people going vegan in the UK since 2016, with more than 3.5 million people now identifying as such’ within the United Kingdom.

Robert Stevens at Vegan Festival Lewes
Robert Stevens at Vegan Festival Lewes

The expansion of the movement has not been without its detractors, however, with many arguing that veganism is a market more accessible for the wealthy due to perceived rising costs of healthier foods. The lifestyle has also come under fire from those who suggest that the diet is simply healthy eating that has been rebranded.

An article earlier this year in ‘VICE’ conveyed these criticisms:

 ‘A fair criticism of the recent vegan boom is that it is mostly catered to the middle classes.’

Whilst Stevens acknowledging the reality of initial price increases, he wholeheartedly refutes these claims:

“I completely disagree with that.”

Brighton Vegan Festival 2017
Brighton Vegan Festival 2017

“I mean on the one hand you can clearly see that it’s a trend within the markets… for instance, the new vegan Quorn, which is obviously at a high expense, they are going to have to cover their costs and is obviously lower demand at the moment in a minority, that makes the product more inelastic in price. So, they are going to have to charge higher for a USP.

 “At the same time, a healthy plant-based diet is no different in costs to having a meat diet. As long as you’re fortifying it with the right nutrients, there’s no reason for it to be more expensive.”

Stevens also believes that events such as the one on Sunday are contributing to the global expansions of veganism:

“The awareness is raising around the globe… I do think that the cause is reaching people, just from awareness within their own supermarkets and stores.

“We’ve (Sussex Vegan) got online resources that people can find.”

The Brighton Vegan Festival is one of the many vegan events across the UK that is being used as platforms to expand veganism and provide growth to the cause.

Greener Beauty, Vegan Cosmetics Retailer
Greener Beauty, Vegan Cosmetics Retailer

Groups like ‘Sussex Vegan’ and their members, such as Stevens, will be hoping for a vast turnout, from which veganism can spread its influence.

If you would like to learn more about ‘Sussex Vegan,’ visit their site at


Olivia Petter (2018), The Independent, Available at: (Accessed 17 November 2018)

Hannah Ewens (2018), VICE, Available at: (Accessed 17 November 2018)

Compare the Market (2018), comparethemarket, Available at: 17 November 2018)

Skiddle Ltd (2018) Skiddle, Available at: (Accessed 17 November 2018)

Max Kilham
Student Journalist at Sussex University

Max Kilham is a talented student Journalism Student at Sussex University.

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