Vegan food festival proves a recipe for success in Sunderland

North East Vegan Fest held at the Stadium of Light - Carmen Tsang and Vicky Hood of Love Deli, High Street, Sunderland.

North East Vegan Fest held at the Stadium of Light - Carmen Tsang and Vicky Hood of Love Deli, High Street, Sunderland.

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Thousands of food lovers flocked to Wearside as an annual vegan celebration proved a recipe for success.

Football gave way to fantastic food at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light as bumper crowds made the latest North East Vegan Festival (NEVFEST) another huge hit yesterday.

A mouthwatering menu of vegan dishes were in rich supply as organisers laid on a wide variety of stalls crammed with animal-free food and drink while representatives from a string of groups and organisations were also on hand to spread the word.

The event is organised by North East animal charity Farplace Animal Rescue as a way of promoting the vegan way of life and offering food for thought to encourage others to try cutting meat, dairy and eggs out of their diet.

The continued popularity of NEVFEST - which was first held in Sunderland in November, 2013 - has served as a springboard for organisers to take their message and fundraising efforts far and wide.

Over 2,400 people turned out for the first ever Irish Vegan Festival in Belfast earlier this year, while festival bosses are now looking forward to events in Newcastle, London, Cardiff, Cumbria and Edinburgh in the months ahead.

Organiser Gareth Edwards said the throngs of visitors - whether vegan or not - were well catered for.

He said; “We have had about 2,000 people here. We actually have more non-vegans who turn up who want to find out more about the lifestyle. We have had music, speakers and 119 stalls