Vegan-friendly menus star in Adelaide app

An Adelaide startup is working to make life easier for vegans, vegetarians and coeliacs, developing a program to categorise restaurants around Adelaide based on their dietary requirement options.

Jun 17, 2024, updated Jun 17, 2024
Jessica Barker and Jacob Baxter were inspired to found Vege-Tables after struggling to find options which fit their dietary requirements. Photo: supplied

Jessica Barker and Jacob Baxter were inspired to found Vege-Tables after struggling to find options which fit their dietary requirements. Photo: supplied

Developed and run by Jacob Baxter and Jessica Barker, Vege-Tables allows users to easily find food options in a specific area based on four categories, starting at “completely vegan” down to “at least one option”.

As a vegan, Baxter told InDaily that “it can be nearly impossible to know whether a pub near you has even a Parmi, or a schnitzel or a burger, or anything more than salad and chips really”.

“We found that when we’d go up to the Adelaide Hills there are lots of places to go and eat but you don’t really know where has any options,” he said.

Baxter said the pair assessed the menus of 5000 venues in South Australia, narrowing it down to just under 3000, which now appear on the Vege-Tables app.

“We’ve sort of taken a different angle,” he said.

Let’s see if we can make it easier to empower people to find more sustainable food, healthier food options, while also trying to help the establishment to innovate and come up with better options so that then people can reward them by going there.”

Baxter said he and Barker had been working on Vege-Tables for around a year before deciding to quit their jobs in February to focus on the project full-time.

Each venue listed on Vege-Tables will be re-evaluated every 90 days, with users able to make suggestions and submit updates.

A $4.99 monthly membership allows users to access the full directory of restaurant options as well as options for vegan-friendly wineries and day trips around the state.

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“There are a couple of solutions that are on the market, but we think that they’re lacking [because] you can’t search for a cuisine or a specific craving,” Baxter said.

“You are kind of just given what other people have found there, whereas we’ve gone and looked at every single restaurant in SA and taken note of exactly what they have: the cuisine, the items, how many options they have, whether its vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free.”

Baxter said while they recognised the risk in “solving a problem for a niche group of people”, the pair wanted to be part of what they see as an ever-increasing market.

“There are billions of dollars going into mock meats and things like that for this, call it, a vegan movement or a sustainability movement,” he said.

“Regardless of what people think about climate change or veganism as a whole, I think that sustainability is a great goal that I think most people have.

“We believe that a big part of that is just making it easier for people to know where these options might be and whether they’re any good.

“There’s a Facebook group with 10,500 people in it just for Adelaide vegans, so it’s a big market.”

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