Good News: International Court of Justice (ICJ) stops Japan’s JARPA II whaling program in the Antarctic

I didn’t manage to stick to my Monday publishing schedule for vegetarian & vegan market research articles. I’m swamped with work that actually pays the bills. I’ll skip a week, and there’ll be another article next Monday, I promise.

In the meanwhile, a bit of good news from March 31, 2014 (text copied from the Sea Shepherd Website):

The “International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague announced their binding decision today in the landmark case of Australia v. Japan, ruling that Japan’s JARPA II whaling program in the Antarctic is not for scientific purposes and ordering that all permits given under JARPA II be revoked. The news was applauded and celebrated by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society USA and Sea Shepherd Australia, both of which have directly intervened against Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean.”

It’s about time. The Japanese are clearly THE.WORST. SCIENTISTS.EVER. They have been eating their scientific evidence for years.

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Market Research: What Vegetarians and Vegans Want (Part 4 – The Boycott Starts)

Too much work and only four hours of sleep means I am going to keep this post short. But I want to stick to the promised publishing date of this series of articles about vegetarian and vegan market research: each Monday I’ll publish an article about my journey from omnivore to vegan.

You can read all my previous posts about vegetarian and vegan market research in the category What Vegans Want.

After becoming an ovo-lacto-vegetarian at age 15, I slowly became aware of animal welfare issues, and subsequently changed my consumer behaviour accordingly.

I first started boycotting milk and eggs from the supermarket. My mother was a big influence on me in that regard, as she was the one person in our family who did all the shopping back then, and she was the one who got interested in organic food. I remember a specific moment in our kitchen – I must have been 17 years old, back in 1984 -, when she showed me a carton of organic eggs, which she had just purchased. There was hay in the carton, actual hay! That’s how organic eggs were marketed and sold at the beginning of the organic movement in Austria.

I’m not sure about the exact moment when she switched from buying factory-farmed milk to organic milk, but I imagine it must have been at around the same time. I think milk was one of the first – if not the first – food products specifically labelled and sold as organic. I don’t remember any other food products being sold as organic back then, just milk and eggs at supermarkets. It took a few years before the organic movement gathered steam in Austria.

I also think that my mother was primarily motivated by health concerns – pesticides and the lack thereof in organic products – and not particularly by animal welfare issues. Information about the conditions of animals at factory farms wasn’t widely available in the 1980s. The organic movement in Austria became a success story partly because of women like my mother who wanted to feed their children with pesticide-free food.

Anyway, for about two years – from age 17 to age 19, when I moved into my own apartment -, the boycotting of factory farms was done by my mother, not me. But of course these two years had a huge influence on me, as I got used to consuming organic products.

So what does this mean for market researchers, who want to get a better insight into vegetarian and vegan consumer behaviour and the motives behind our buying decisions? Not much – yet. At that point in my life, my consumer behaviour – or actually my mother’s consumer behaviour – only affected two specific products, under specific conditions: milk and eggs, bought at the supermarket.

That last bit – bought at the supermarket – is actually quite important for market researchers, as it makes a huge difference, if someone only boycotts certain products (e.g. factory-farmed eggs) , or if the boycott goes further. My mother still continued to buy processed foods at the supermarket which listed factory-farmed eggs as ingredients, and we all continued to eat dishes at restaurants, which were prepared with factory-farmed eggs. And I’m sure, if there weren’t any organic eggs available at the supermarket or organic milk, she bought the factory-farmed eggs and milk instead of not buying eggs or milk at all. I continued this kind of buying behaviour for several years even after I moved out. When the products I wanted to buy were not available in organic quality, I bought the factory farmed food products instead.

I was in my early twenties when I finally decided not to do that anymore. From that point onward, I made sure to always have enough organic milk at home, as I simply can’t stomach black coffee. Coffee requires milk. These days, it’s rice milk. That decision – not to accept factory-farmed products as an alternative – was a huge step in my development towards becoming a vegan. But let’s not jump ahead, and take this step by step – I want market researchers to get a better insight into vegetarians’ and vegans’ purchasing decisions, and therefore want to describe my development in a chronological order.

Look at that…not such a short article after all. I guess I have much to say. Luckily, I have my own website. Lots and lots of words to follow :)

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Market Research: What Vegetarians and Vegans Want (Part 3 – Information/Living in a Digital World)

Note: All the market research articles are published in the category “What Vegans Want.”

When I became a vegetarian at age 15 during the summer of 1982, little information was available about animal welfare issues. Pre-Internet, we relied for our information on printed media, two (yes, two!) television channels, and two radio stations in Austria. It was a different world back then, and information was hard to come by. That’s why, after vowing never to eat meat or fish again, I did just that for several years – and nothing else.

I didn’t want animals to get slaughtered on my behalf, but I wasn’t aware of any other issues: factory farming, transport, force feeding, etc. Lack of information was a real issue back than, and for the next four years I lived as a “pudding vegetarian.” I didn’t eat meat or fish, but everything else, and didn’t pay attention to nutrition. I ate a lot of junk food including sweets, “puddings” (a favourite actually to this day), and lots of dairy, eggs, cheese, honey, as well as foods that contained gelatine (gummy bears!) and other animal-derived ingredients. I also wore leather (shoes, belts, even a jacket), bought down jackets and bedding, clothing made from silk and wool, and used cosmetics tested on animals. I was still a teenager and utterly unaware of animal welfare issues. Again, keep in mind that all of this happened pre-Internet.

I remember becoming aware of animal welfare issues at age 19, when I moved into my own apartment while studying journalism & communication science and political science at the University of Vienna. From that point on, I became more aware of a variety of issues, which eventually affected my consumer behaviour, and which I’ll describe in more detail in the following weeks and months.

But let’s take another look at the availability of information today. Back in the 1980s information was hard to come by. The Internet has changed all that. If you google the term “animal welfare” you will get 50 million hits – and all the information you need.

This is something that companies must keep in mind when they want to sell their products or offer their services to (potential) consumers today. In this day and age, consumers care about “sustainability” (39.5 million hits on Google) and “ethical companies” (42 million hits on Google). Countless NGOs and consumer rights organisations shine a light on companies, which behave unethically, or sell products, which damage the environment or ignore animal welfare issues. Companies can get away for a while with unethical behaviour – years even -, but eventually they’ll get their asses kicked in a very public way by NGOs or concerned citizens.

It’s downright stupid and shows a lack of foresight, if a company behaves unethically or launches an new product or service, which will eventually put it firmly in the crosshairs of critical consumers and NGOs. In the digital world, if you behave unethically, you’ll eventually get caught. It’s as simple as that.

So why risk it? Why risk damaging your company’s reputation and losing all your customers when there are options? More and more businesses thrive by marketing their products and services to consumers who care about the environment, child & slave labour, and animal welfare issues. There are countless opportunities for profit for companies, which market their products and services to “ethical consumers.” Our numbers are growing (21.7 million hits on Google), and we’re very vocal about products and companies, which we consider unethical. For a company in the 21st century, in a digital world, its long-term survival depends on good corporate citizenship – and that includes showing concern for labour issues as well as environmental and animal welfare issues.

Oh, and one more thing: scrap those multi-million dollar/Euros bonuses for company executives, stop producing everything in Asia, and pay your corporation taxes, for crying out loud. Consumer outrage knows no bounds on those issues.

A few links:

Ethical Consumer: the alternative consumer organisation

Study: Consumer Attitudes to Animal Welfare

Guardian: The animal welfare and antitrust issues behind America’s cheap meat

Christopher Leonard, book: The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America’s Food

PETA: Cosmetics and Household-Product Animal Testing

PETA: Animals Abused And Killed for Their Skins

Mercy for Animals: Undercover Investigations of Factory Farms and Slaughterhouses

Animals Australia: Exposing Live Export Cruelty

Belfast Telegraph: 14,000 animals killed for university research at Queen’s and University of Ulster

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Market Research: What Vegetarians and Vegans Want (Part 2 – The Motivation Behind Non-Purchasing Decisions)

I became a vegetarian at age 15, during a vacation in Italy. I had a nightmare about the slaughter of cows that was very vivid and bloody. Today, I can’t remember the details of that dream, but I do remember waking up drenched in sweat – and a full-blown vegetarian. I would eat no more meat or fish, ever.

I can’t remember anymore what brought on this dream. I imagine it was something I saw, heard, or read about in the days or weeks previously. I had been concerned about animal welfare all through my childhood, and – with the exception of my immediate family – always felt a closer connection to animals than to other human beings. I guess I was born a vegetarian.

Anyway, my decision to become a vegetarian was based on animal welfare. When market researchers try to understand the purchasing (and non-purchasing) decisions of vegetarians, they must look at motivation. It’s not enough to divide vegetarians into subcategories – ovo-lacto vegetarian, lacto vegetarian, vegan, etc. -, it is more important to find out why someone made a (sometimes drastic) lifestyle decision. An ovo-lacto vegetarian, who stopped eating meat for health reasons, might still buy leather shoes. A vegan like myself, who is motivated by animal welfare reasons, won’t even consider such an option.

Don’t make the mistake to assume that decisions about different vegetarian diets only concern food. They have implications which go far beyond eating and shopping for groceries. I started snow-skiing when I was only 1 ½ years old. I basically learned to walk and ski at roughly the same time. When I was a child, my family and I went on skiing vacations five weeks a year (I’m from Austria – lots of mountains, lots of snow). As a young adult, I continued to go on skiing trips at least once or twice a year. And then I stopped – due to animal welfare reasons. And no, it had nothing to do with the wildlife – of course I’d never ski out of bounds, so as not to disturb the wildlife. That’s a given. I stopped skiing because I have very bad eyesight, and I can’t risk losing or ruining my (very expensive) glasses while skiing (and crashing; it happens). Why not wear contact lenses, you might ask? The fluids, which are necessary to store and clean the contact lenses, have been tested on animals. And the companies, which produce those fluids, are usually pharmaceutical companies, which test most (all?) of their products on animals. So there you have it. Thousands of dollars and Euros not spent on skiing (and not staying at hotels, not renting cars, not eating at restaurants, not buying skiing equipment), because I can’t wear contact lenses anymore due to animal welfare reasons. None of it has anything to do with food.

In the following weeks, I’ll take a closer look at the kind of non-purchasing decisions different kinds of vegetarians might make. My evolution from a 15-year old ovo-lacto vegetarian to a fairly radical vegan was slow. When I became a vegetarian 32 years ago – pre-Internet! – little information was available about animal welfare, products, and the companies, which produced them. These days, due to the Internet and social media, one can google just about anything and end up with countless websites, which will provide all the information one needs to make purchasing (and non-purchasing) decisions. I guess that’s why CSR (corporate social responsibility) was “born.” Companies can’t get away anymore with irresponsible, unethical behaviour – and vegetarians are some of the most discriminate customers around. This wouldn’t be a problem for companies, if there were only a few of us. But the number of people, who choose a vegetarian lifestyle, are growing fast and steadily. It would be foolish of market researchers and companies, who want our business, to ignore our needs and values.

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Market Research: What Vegetarians and Vegans Want (Part 1)

In her book “Not buying it. My year without shopping” writer Judith Levine describes how she and her partner made do for a year with what they had, only shopping for groceries (unprocessed foods only). She points out that market research only ever looks into the things people buy, but no-one ever tries to find out what people don’t buy and why they’re not buying what they’re not buying.

As a vegetarian and now a vegan I often find myself in situations where I would love to buy something – but can’t, because the product I long to buy simply doesn’t exist. Buying vegan shoes on the high street is impossible – I have to order them over the Internet from small shoemakers in other countries (see articles here and here). I have to make my own organic vegan “Liptauer,” a delicious Austrian bread spread. There’s no vegan Mexican restaurant in Vienna, and the only Indian restaurant, which offers vegan versions of its food, is set to close in the fall. According to the latest research, approximately 9.000 vegans live in Vienna, Austria. That’s 9.000 potential consumers whose needs aren’t being met.

I’ve decided to publish a series of articles about my decision to become a vegetarian and subsequently a vegan. I’ll describe my evolution as a consumer. I’ll describe when and why I stopped buying certain things. These articles are aimed at market researchers, who would like to get a better insight into vegetarians’ and vegans’ needs. Hopefully, they’ll raise awareness among companies which are looking for new product ideas and ways to expand their businesses. Vegetarians and vegans have money too – and we’d like to spend it. Help us do that.

I’ll publish a short article each Monday, and describe one step of my journey. I became a vegetarian at age 15, and will celebrate my 47th birthday next month. So that’s 32 years of not being able to buy all the things I need and want. That’s a lot of money saved (for me) but also a lot of money that wasn’t put into the economy. Mind you, I am not promoting needless spending, but I really could use a new pair of shoes!

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Libería Utopía (Austria – Vienna)

It takes a brave soul (or two) to open a bookstore in this day and age, when most people seem to buy their books on Amazon (guilty!) or download them from the Internet onto their E-Readers.

My friend Stefanie Klamuth and her boyfriend Pablo Hörtner recently both quit well-paying corporate jobs to open a “radically left” book store and vegan café in Vienna.

Liberia Utopia, © Stefanie Klamuth & Pablo Hörtner

Liberia Utopia, © Stefanie Klamuth & Pablo Hörtner

At Libería Utopía you won’t find the latest mainstream bestsellers, but books – old and new – on far-left politics, history and philosophy, which are usually hard to come by. You’ll also find books on their shelves which question/criticise the status quo of our society, which inform readers about feminism and gay/lesbian issues, and books about religion or vegetarian cooking. You’ll also find alternative children’s books, and specialty travel guides like Jewish Vienna (available both in German and English, by publishing house mandelbaum). By the way, this book costs 15.80 Euros (English version) at Libería Utopía, but 19.90 Euros on “Amazon.de”. It’s worth every cent, so stop by their store and buy it, before you start your sightseeing tour of Vienna.

© Stefanie Klamuth & Pablo Hörtner

© Stefanie Klamuth & Pablo Hörtner

Author’s readings and other events are organized frequently at the store, which is made available as a meeting space for NGOs. Check their website for updates.

Libería Utopía is not just a bookstore, but also a vegan café, which looks and feels like Stefanie’s and Pablo’s own personal living room. Drinks are prized very moderately (1.60 Euros for mineral water, 2.20 Euros for a café latte). There are no fixed prices for the vegan snacks they offer. You pay what you think is fair. There’s free WiFi, and dogs are welcome. Even puppies, which are not yet housebroken (thank you for that!).

Address: Preysinggasse 26­28, 1150 Vienna

Opening hours: Tuesdays – Fridays, 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Saturdays 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

Phone: +43 – 660­ – 3913 865

Websites:
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Stop and Smell the Flowers

© http://www.vegantourist.com

© http://www.vegantourist.com

 

 

Flowers! I love flowers! So pretty, and they smell so nice!

Let’s take a closer look…

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© http://www.vegantourist.com

 

 

 

What do you mean, I’m not supposed to play in the flowerbed?

© http://www.vegantourist.com

© http://www.vegantourist.com

 

 

Oh… —

© http://www.vegantourist.com

© http://www.vegantourist.com

 

 

 

 

But this is so much fun!

I want to play with the flowers !

© http://www.vegantourist.com

© http://www.vegantourist.com

 

Game over.

© http://www.vegantourist.com

© http://www.vegantourist.com

 

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Vegan Survival Tips for Ferreries, Menorca: Hotel Loar, Bar-Cafeteria

This is the last one of my articles about restaurants & (vegan) food shopping on the island of Menorca, Spain. I hesitated for a long time before I decided to publish this one last review. We didn’t spend much time in Ferreries, the fifth-largest town on the island, and our dining experience was quite disappointing. I keep thinking there must be better restaurant choices for vegans, and don’t want to portray the town unfairly. However, vegans really don’t seem to have many options in Ferreries; best to make plans to eat elsewhere.

Ferreries is located at the centre of the island, and it has the distinction of being the highest town on the island above sea level (142 metres). The only tourist attractions in town are the Museo de la Natura, and the church of Sant Bartomeu (located on Plaça de L’Eglésia), neither of which we visited.

© http://www.vegantourist.com

We strolled through Plaça Espanya, which is basically the town centre, and while there were a couple of bars and cafes, the only restaurant in the vicinity was Restaurante Cala Galdana inside the Hotel Loar Ferreries.

The hotel is located at the corner of Carrer Reverend Pare Huguet & Avinguda Verge del Toro, at one of the corners of Plaça Espanya. Unfortunately, the restaurant’s menu – displayed outside – did not list a single vegan dish. Instead, we ended up at the hotel’s bar & cafeteria, where I was able to order the usual fare: a mixed salad and pa amb tomàquet, a version of pa amb oli (with crushed tomatoes).

© http://www.vegantourist.com

The salad and toasted garlic & tomato bread were no better or worse than the many other salads and pa amb olis (or pa amb tomàquets) I had eaten before at various Menorcan restaurants. But I found it quite depressing that the only dining option available to a vegan tourist in Ferreries during the off-season at mid-day was a hotel cafeteria.

However, there was truly no other option. We walked around the town centre for about half an hour, and the bar & cafeteria at Hotel Loar Ferreries is where we finally ended up.

© http://www.vegantourist.com

The hotel has a website with several photos, click on the “bar” tab, so you’ll know what to expect.

Address: Verge del Toro Avenue, 2, 07750 Ferreries, Menorca

Opening hours: “daily from the peak of dawn right through to the evening“ – that’s from their website

Phone: +34 – 971 – 37 30 30 (for the bar & restaurant)

Website: http://www.loarferreries.com/inici.php?lang=en

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Vegan Survival Tips for Alaior, Menorca: The Cobblers Restaurant

Wow, I didn’t expect that – The Cobblers Restaurant has closed.

I just recently had lunch there – a bare six months ago, on April 28, 2013 – and as I am sitting down to write the review, I’m shocked to learn that The Cobblers Restaurant closed down for business at the end of September.

That’ll teach me to put off writing reviews for too long..

Luckily, the owners are opening a new restaurant at a different address in Alaior, The Brasserie & Bar Dos Pablos. They’re set to open in March 2014 (according to a cached Google page), but on their new Website they’re already providing information about a Christmas Day (2013) Luncheon, so check their Facebook site for updates.

This is the link to their new venture’s Facebook page.

Even though The Cobblers restaurant has now closed, I still want to tell you about my visit there, as you can expect similar hospitality from the owners at their new restaurant.

We vacationed on Menorca during the off-season in late April 2013, and stopped by for a “Sunday roast.” For Sunday lunch, they offered a three-course set meal (some options) for 21.95 Euros, but you couldn’t order a la carte during Sunday lunch. Not ideal for a vegan. Nevertheless, we decided to stay for lunch.

I was lucky, as one of the starters was vegan, a delicious tomato soup with basil. There weren’t any vegan entrée options on the “Sunday roast” menu, but one of the owners – whose name I don’t recall – who waited personally on all his guests, was happy to accommodate my vegan needs. The chef made me a pasta dish with broccoli, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and corn. There’s nothing special about a pasta dish, of course, but what was special was the owner’s willingness to go out of his way to accommodate a vegan: “If we have it in the kitchen, you can have it.”

And that’s why I recommend that you visit their new restaurant, even though I haven’t been there myself. Call ahead, if you can, let them know that you are a vegan, and I’m sure they’ll accommodate your dining needs. If you’ve read any of my other restaurant reviews of Menorca, you’ll know that this is special indeed. The owners are British, so there’s no language barrier, and they actually know what the word “vegan” means.

None of the desserts were vegan, but instead of opting for an off-the-menu fruit salad, we asked to take-away one of the non-vegan desserts, so my omnivore dining companion could enjoy it later. I was quite full after the soup & pasta dish, and simply couldn’t eat any dessert.

We had a great time at The Cobblers Restaurant, and I am sorry that it has now closed, but I wish the owners well with their new venture. I’m sure it’ll be a success.

Contact information for their new restaurant, The Brasserie & Bar Dos Pablos:

Address: Calan Porter, 07730 Alaior, Menorca

Opening hours: ??

Phone: +34 – 636 – 96 18 91

Website: https://www.facebook.com/brasseriebardospablos

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Vegan Food Shopping in Alaior, Menorca

© http://www.vegantourist.com

Alaior is the third-largest town on the island of Menorca, after Maó and Ciutadella. My various guidebooks list the town’s population somewhere between 6.400 and 9.400 people, and I have trouble believing either number. Alaior is quite small, and half a day will give you plenty of time to explore the town centre.

Alaior is famous for two things: cheese-making and the production of abarcas, flat leather sandals – neither of which is of any interest to vegan tourists. But the town is lovely and we took the self-guided tour suggested in Robert Zsolnay’s (German-language) guide book Menorca.

There’s a small herbolario (herbalist’s store) right in the town centre, which also sells organic and vegan food. You can buy tofu, Seitan, soy and rice milk, vegan spreads, and cosmetics (e.g. Weleda) at Hort de Temps.

© http://www.vegantourist.com

I bought a jar of shitake pate there. They sell organic bread. No fruit or veggies, but right across the street is a greengrocer’s.

We also shopped at Hiper Centro, a supermarket in Coll del Palmer, across the street from Capella de Gràcia, which today houses the tourism office. Coll del Palmer leads towards Plaça de la Constitució.

We only bought some water and potato crisps at Hiper Centro, but they also sell fruit and vegetables, soy milk, an assortment of

© http://www.vegantourist.com

nuts and dried fruit, and pre-cooked beans in jars; but no soy yoghurt, hummus, tofu, or other staples of a vegan diet. It’s a medium-sized supermarket, despite the “Hiper” in its name.

I popped into another supermarket to check it out, when we passed it on our stroll through the town centre. It’s called Supermercats San Crispin, located at Carrer des Ramal 39, vis a vis from the Plaça des Ramal. Supermercats San Crispin is a food co-operative, they aim to sell (many) fairly produced and local products. They have four stores on Menorca, as far as I could understand, as their website is only published in Spanish.

This store is smaller than the Hiper Centro store, and I noticed that all the soy milk on offer at this particular store had added Vitamin D. I usually avoid products with added vitamin D, as this often means Vitamin D3, which is derived from animals. They did sell rice milk, assorted nuts, dried fruit, and pre-cooked beans in jars; but no vegan yoghurts, hummus, tofu, Seitan, etc.

Hort de Temps
Address: c/es carreró 11, Alaior 07730, Menorca
Opening hours: Monday – Friday  10:00 AM to 1:30 PM, and 17:00 PM to 20:00 PM, Saturdays 10:00 AM – 1:30 PM
Phone: +34 – 971 – 378 886
Website: http://hortdestemps.blogspot.co.at/

Hiper Centro
Address: Coll del Palmer, across the street from Capella de Gràcia, 07730 Alaior, Menorca
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 8:30 AM – 2:00 PM, and 5:00 PM – ?? (sorry, I can’t read my notes). Closed on Sundays and Holidays
Phone: ??
Website: I couldn’t find one

Supermercats San Crispin
Address: Carrer des Ramal 39, Alaior 07730, Menorca
Opening hours: Mondays – Saturday  8:30 AM to 2:30 PM; afternoons: ???;  closed on Sundays
Phone: +34 – 971 – ??
Website: http://www.sancrispin.net/

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