Free-from festival feastin’

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At Field Day last Saturday, I was pleasantly welcomed by the number of vegetarian/vegan/free-from food stalls and vans on the site. I also noticed this at Glastonbury in 2013, where an array of international cuisines and healthy food stands line the fields between the stages.

In recent years, British street food has seen a revamp from greasy road-side burgers to international cuisines brought to festivals and fares all over the UK. Gourmet samosas, foreign meat burgers and Asian pork buns can now be seen as regulars in many affairs. However, as most of us move towards a healthier lifestyle, it seems as though social gatherings which are often notorious for binging, such as festivals, are now expected to follow suit and cater for our ‘cleaner’ and conscious habits.

This new generation of boutique pop-up vans are often owned by a small team of food-loving, conscious eaters. Wholefood Heaven is ran by David and Charlotte Bailey, serving ‘buddha bowls’ in a converted Citröen van; their backgrounds as a chef and natural health expert make their Buddha Bowl Van even more inviting. Their buddha bowl boasts a vegan (or vegetarian, if halloumi is added) Massaman curry with a kimchi pickle, steamed seasonal greens and organic seed sprinkle contained within a trusty noodle container. The free-from dish (wheat and gluten) represents the sudden surge in the market for tackling food intolerances and digestive issues. Catering for the ever-changing face of the British population and exclusively targeting dietary requirements, such as vegan, is increasingly gaining popularity too.

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As well as addressing the needs of the health conscious public, the environmental issue has also been presented by these street food vendors. Happy Maki is a fish-free, vegan sushi company which exploits the effects of sushi over-consumption, resulting in unsustainable fishing. Their freshly-rolled sushi wraps are fully vegan, using ingredients such as vegetarian duck and chicken, as well as classic components like avocado and red pepper.

However, vegan options remain limited as most people are omnivores. Though, many vendors and companies are increasingly becoming more aware of the negative impacts of catering for the masses, which are mostly associated with the public’s desire to consume ‘fast’ food. Thus, many choose to limit their environmental effects by minimising their waste and promoting the need to improve animal welfare in the food industry, as well as carrying out simple measures through use of eco-friendly packaging.

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So, ethical and conscious eating seem to be gaining popularity in many fields across the UK. The reason? Many see a healthy, balanced diet as a priority, and if you’re spending a few days in a tent, greasy food three days in a row can easily be tiresome to eat.

Many of these street food vans and stalls are London-based and can often be found as pop-ups around the city. For non-Londoners, however, large festivals will see the majority of these vendors serving up some great nosh, ensuring you won’t miss out on a great festival culinary experience.

It might be worth checking out British Street Food for the latest trends/news/stalls to look out for!

Are there any other food stalls/vans you recommend?

Julia | themorningbowl. Follow me on Instagram: @themorningbowl

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