Even during Veganuary, Liverpool’s independent vegan cafes claim they’re struggling to compete against larger chains.

The Vibe, a vegan eatery in the city centre boasts a spot in Liverpool’s top five restaurants on TripAdvisor. However, with the recent surge in popularity, and the Veganuary challenge, The Vibe has still not seen an increase in customers coming through their doors.

Maria Mappouridis, The Vibe’s founder and director, stood outside The Vibe- Photo by Coni Harpham

Maria Mappouridis, Vibe’s founder and director, said: “A lot of the big chains are doing offers that independents like ourselves just can’t compete with, some places do 50% off, they do giveaways of their Veganuary products, which to them are just a gimmick for the month, whereas to us it is our bread and butter… or alternative bread and butter.”

Various Veganuary deals in Liverpool city centre- Photo by Coni Harpham


Examples of these promotions can be seen all across the city with few restaurants missing the opportunity to jump on the Veganuary trend.

The Vibe feels a plant-based diet should be more than just a trend though.

Maria said: “We are so passionate about this movement as a whole, not just for the month.

“The idea is great as a challenge to start people on their vegan journey, but I think it should be in a different month than January as people don’t have as much money to spend on new things.”

‘The government needs to get involved and support the industries’

Maria also felt that most chain restaurants buy frozen stuff, fry it and then serve it to customers which is another disadvantage faced by her restaurant that has to open more hours to prepare the vegan menu from fresh every morning in order to compete.

The current strikes and cost of living crisis has further hindered Maria’s business, she said: “Hospitality is in a crisis of its own which isn’t really being talked about, people can’t get to the town centre because of strikes, we support them, but it does have a knock on effect.

“The government needs to get involved and support the industries and the workers, whether is Veganuary or not.”


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