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The Old Hardware Shop and Healthy Foods Online

We received this PR release and are publishing it as is because if features a favourite of the ScouseVeggies:
The Old Hardware Shop in Woolton Village. It is a vegan/veggie only cafe. If you haven’t been, go visit.

The aim of this article is to promote them and specifically another Liverpool business: Healthy Foods Online.

How These Liverpool-based Vegan Businesses Are Surprising the Public

The Old Hardware Shop and Healthy Foods Online

According to research carried out by Mintel, the popularity of vegetarian and vegan food is on the increase in the UK with 20% of 16-24 year olds and 12% of all adults now opting for plant-based diets over meat and dairy.

And so this is something two Liverpool-based businesses have responded to, noticing that there is big demand for this now with the rise of more health conscious eating within the city.

Why people want the vegan lifestyle

48% of those surveyed by Mintel stated that they prefer meat-free products because they are better for the environment and 52% agreed that they are healthier.

With growing demand for vegan food, this is good news for health, for the environment and for the commercial sector too. Estimated to be worth £657 million to the UK economy in 2014, a 5% increase on 2013, the health foods sector is beginning to flourish.

For those unfamiliar with meat and dairy-free diets, making the change can seem like a radical challenge, but it’s one which Liverpool-based café owners, Amy and Rosanna understand very well.

Meet Liverpool Vegan Coffee Shop, The Old Hardware Shop:

Rosanna and Amy have been vegetarian for over 15 years, and always wanted to be vegan but worried that it would be too tricky. However, in 2011 they ditched dairy products for a bet; who could last the longest on a vegan diet? Four years later, no-one has lost that bet. In fact both appear to be winners following the launch of their Liverpool-based vegetarian and vegan eater The Old Hardware Shop.

The Old Hardware Shop

Overcoming perceptions that a vegan diet is difficult, bland, limited in choice or the preserve of the die-hard hippy might be challenges you’d expect these entrepreneurs to be bracing themselves to face, but the reality is far from it. Here’s our interview with Rosanna (pictured above):

Q: What makes your coffee shop unique?

We became vegan because we love animals, not for health reasons- and we wanted to sell foods which we missed from our non-vegan days, so that vegans and vegetarians could feel like anyone else walking in to a café and being able to order a bacon sandwich or a sausage and cheese toastie without having to think twice! We wanted somewhere that appeals to everyone- whether you eat meat or not – you can have whatever you want. We just missed being able to stuff our faces with chocolate cake and milkshakes like we used to- so made somewhere that we would want to visit ourselves!

Inside the Old Hardware Shop

Q: Is there anything that you want to stock but can’t find online?

Caramel vegan sauce! I wish I could make vegan ‘caramel macchiato’ style drinks. And I would love a nice vegan goat’s cheese.

Q: What have been your biggest challenges?

Sometimes it is stressful when we get busy, with only 2 of us in the kitchen at the moment. With the lack of space in the kitchen we are unable to hire any staff. We are usually really busy on a Saturday so we get help from our family and friends.

Q: What’s your favourite thing about running a vegan cafe?

Apart from having to try all our cakes, we love our customers. Everyone has been so kind and welcoming! One of our regulars left us this amazing poem recently:

Note left at The Old Hardware Shop

Q: Do you think veganism has grown in popularity in recent years?

I was vegetarian 15 years before becoming vegan and I have noticed a massive change. It is becoming a lot more ‘normal’, especially as people are realising the health benefits. I am in awe at the selection of vegetarian food nowadays – you can even get pulled pork – you can really have anything you want, there isn’t any sense of ‘missing out’. And I think that it will be like that for vegans in a few years as more and more entrepreneurs are cooking up amazing ‘cheeses’, chocolate and more and more realistic ‘meat’. A lot of celebrities endorse a vegan diet now – with more people realising that they love animals a lot more than they love meat and dairy, and sharing their views on social media.

Q: What are your favourite brands?

Vbites have a myriad of vegan wonders- from tuna (the only thing I ever craved since becoming vegetarian) to duck! I love Tofutti cheese and Swedish Glace Ice Cream. My favourite chocolate bars are definitely Vego Bars which taste like Nutella, delicious! I also love a range of crisps which we sell, Ten Acre – which include vegan cheese and onion.

Rosanna says: “We want people to simply enjoy our food and realise that vegans can eat the same foods as anyone else! Sometimes meat eaters are a bit apprehensive, but we have had loads of compliments from people- even saying that they prefer our vegan black pudding to the real thing! We also have lots of fans of our homemade cakes, which are all vegan. We always try to have a new special so that people can keep returning to try something new.”

Based in an area where independents are cherished, the actual challenges facing the duo are more in keeping with any fledgling business that is literally catering for a growing market: keeping up with demand, finding time to develop their menu and most importantly, finding quality suppliers that meet their needs.

Meet Liverpool Suppliers, Healthy Foods Online

Healthy Foods Online

For Rosanna and Amy, sourcing vegetarian and vegan produce from a supplier who carries the diversity of products they need and can make fast, regular deliveries is important – and exactly what unbeknown to them, a business up the road from them- Liverpool based -Healthy Foods Online provide.

Rosanna says: “Healthy Foods Online understand some of the difficulties we face as a small business and their range of products, their pricing and delivery terms are very attractive.”

With support from the right suppliers, The Old Hardware Shop is able to focus on the task of growing its business.

Healthy Foods Online operate from their head office on the East Lancs Road, and have built a reputation as suppliers of all foods that enable a healthier lifestyle – from vegan, organic, gluten free and premium gourmet food from all over Europe.

Warehouse on the East Lancs Road

They are committed to providing both individual customers and businesses with the best specialist foods on the market, and with the growing demand for free from foods and more awareness around things like coeliac disease – and a general rise in people being more health conscious and looking for things like sugar free options – it means their business is booming.

The Old Hardware Shop themselves use many of the products they sell frequently within their dishes – showing that the brands they sell are favourites with the specialty food industry.

For example, one of the coffee shop’s most popular dishes is a vegan chocolate and marshmallow bagel, which is made using vegan foods brand, Plamil Organic Chocolate Spread and Freedom Confectionery Vanilla Mallows.

Chocolate and marshmallow bagel

These brands are staples to many vegans, and Healthy Foods Online are able to supply them both as one off purchases to consumers, or in bulk to both local businesses – and even international ones as far afield as the Middle East, France and the USA, where this industry is really huge.

To sample the vegan delights on offer at The Old Hardware Shop, visit their premises in Liverpool or to try the extensive range of vegan and vegetarian produce available from Healthy Foods Online, order directly from their online store.

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