Dutch festivalgoers hungry for vegetarian food trend

Edition 28 June 2018, by Max Opray

Vegetarian food is the next big thing at Dutch festivals, with major events offering more and more options for people who don’t eat meat. Veggie and vegan options are everywhere, from food festivals such as Rollende Keukens, TREK and Taste of Amsterdam to music events such as Tomorrowland, DGTL, Mysteryland, Rock Werchter and Lowlands.

Amadea Boneschansker of The Vegetarian Butcher (De Vegetarische Slager) told Metro there is a lot of demand for veggie options at festivals these days. “You notice in general that there is a lot of demand for vegetarian and vegan products,” she says. In addition to several large festivals, De Vegetarische Slager may even be at the Chicken Festival soon with its own vegetarian chicken. “That’s the biggest compliment you can get, of course,” she says, “since we really want to match the taste of meat. And if people do not know it is not meat, they often kick in. They find it amazing that it has such a good taste. That way we dispel the idea that vegetarian is really only for vegetarians. “

The increasing demand for vegetarian food is also evident at Greenway, Paul Florizoone tells Metro. He is at Tomorrowland this weekend with the 100 percent vegetable kebab that has made him a celebrity worldwide. “Of course, the burgers and the like are still popular, but you notice that there is increasing demand for healthy, high-quality food as an alternative to the ‘normal’ festival food,” he says. “We are often one of the better or even the best-selling stands. Yes, we also do well for such an international audience. You often notice that vegetarian is very popular in countries where a lot of meat is eaten. In South America, for example, there is now a real veggie trend.” Music festival DGTL held a meatfree edition for the third time this year; at Lente Kabinet the food was only vegetarian, and at Milkshake meat has been banished from the festival grounds. Harry van Vliet, lecturer at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, is a researcher of festivals in the Netherlands. He reviewed food festivals last year. “There is a lot of speculation about festivals, but few people can really show figures,” he tells NU. “What strikes me is that the supply of vegetarian food by food trucks is very small: only 3 percent of food truck owners at food festivals, for example, only offer vegetarian food; the vast majority sell meat, meat and veggies.”

Van Vliet thinks that festivals that switch to a vegetarian-only line-up have either an idealistic idea or are just responding to the needs of visitors. Milan Meyberg, revolution manager at DGTL, agrees. He explains that making the festival meat-free has nothing to do with the idea that everyone should be vegetarian. “An average festival is not exactly sustainable.” Meyberg refers to the enormous amount of electricity, water and waste that is used or produced during a festival. “A festival site sometimes looks like a rubbish dump. We look for ways to be more sustainable and reduce our footprint, and not offering meat is an easy way to do that,” he says. By no longer serving meat, DGTL saves 53,000 kg of CO2 emissions, which is comparable with 350 return flights between Amsterdam and Paris. “We want to make visitors aware and let them think about the impact of meat production. We do not demand anyone to come to our festival, but whoever comes has to deal with what we stand for,” he says. Femke Mosch, trend researcher in the field of food, agrees that festival organizations are working on sustainability. “There really had to be a change. Waste is a big problem: plastic cups and plates, and tents that are left behind on the site.”