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A note to vegans — simmer down

Updated: Dec 18, 2019

Menus offering vegan options are for everyone to enjoy. 

Opinion by Savannah Simmons, Opinion Editor 

Vegan options in restaurants and grocery stores are not just for vegans; they are for everyone to make a healthier choice, so raging when something is not prepared on a meat-free surface creates unnecessary problems. 

In November, Burger King was sued for false advertising when a customer, Phillip Williams, alleged that his Impossible Whopper was prepared on the same grill as their other meat products without his knowledge. Keeping a  “strict vegan diet,” he was alarmed and filed a lawsuit against the fast-food chain. 

Filing a lawsuit is taking this too far. Legal action of this magnitude brings the wrong attention to the entire vegan movement and jeopardize the spread of these products to other restaurants. The cost and time it would take to purchase and find room for a new plant-based-only grill may prevent restaurants from having these types of products altogether. Not even having an option could save them from having to deal with the backlash from episodes like Williams’.

Plant-based products are for anyone who has decided to make healthier choices and everyday vegans should support these decisions. Places like Del Taco, Chipotle and Carl’s Jr. have all recently introduced vegan-friendly options to their meat-heavy menus and vegans are not the only ones ordering. A plant-based order at Burger King may lead to someone choosing these alternatives at other restaurants or grocery stores. 

That is what veganism is about, welcoming the small choices that help change, not badgering anyone or place for not converting 100 percent. One cannot expect people or companies to commit to veganism so fast; be grateful for the progress they have made thus far because it could either continue to grow, or be stopped dead in its tracks out of fear of outrage. 

A vegan who feels they would be offended by learning their meal was not fully prepared on a non-meat grill or surface — after the fact — need not to go to restaurants with a couple of vegan options, but places that fully cater to the vegan diet and lifestyle. Walking into a fast food chain, diners should recognize that this is not a place where a vegan is king, it is where people with no dietary restrictions go for a quick bite to eat. 

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