Win an Uncle Steve’s Italian Specialties Gift Basket [Giveaway]

HAPPY WORLD VEGETARIAN DAY!

What’s a great way to celebrate? How about a GIVEAWAY?!?! 

Back in the Spring, we introduced you to Steve Schrripa’s Uncle Steve’s Italian Specialties pasta sauces You may remember Steve as “Bobby Bacala” from the hit show, “The Sopranos.” Since then, he’s been whipping up some of the best pasta sauces on the market. How exciting is it that we get to share the opportunity for you try these sauces at home?!?!

uncle-steves-italian-specialties-gift-basket-giveaway

Our friends at Uncle Steve’s have put together an exclusive gift basket for us to share with you! Between now and Thursday, October 15, 2015, enter to win the following:

  • 3 jars Uncle Steve’s organic pasta sauce
  • 3 bags Pasta di Stigliano organic pasta
  • 1 Uncle Steve’s bamboo spoon signed by Steve Schirripa

You won’t find too many sauces that are 100% organic, vegan and keep traditional Italian and Sicilian flavors alive. That’s exactly what you’ll get from Uncle Steve’s in three varieties: Marinara, Tomato Basil and our fave, Arrabiata

We’ll be announcing the winner on the blog on Friday, October 16, 2015!  WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN! CONGRATS JASANNA!

THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Animal Lyrics Project: A Vegan Exhibition

animal lyrics project
animal lyrics project
The Animal Lyrics Project: Culture Club – “Karma Chameleon”

Art is powerful! Art can be activism! Art sends messages to those open to receive them!

This is why we’re so excited to share The Animal Lyrics Project: A Vegan Exhibition with you! Created by Eric Lindstrom of The Meaty Vegan and ThankTank Creative, this project has invited designers and activists to create posters/memes using animal-themed song lyrics from The Beatles to Prince. The goal is to create a “stronger vegan network” through collaborative and coopetition efforts. We’re all in this together and it’s our veganism that connects us.

Each one of the artists has taken a different approach to their posts, but all have the animals as the focal point. Spiders, crocodiles and birds! Oh my! It’s not just the words that sends the message. It’s also the visual display that creates an impact and response!

Carmella has two pieces in this first exhibition. Check out what she and others have created at The Meaty Vegan blog.

How do you use your talents to speak up for ALL animals? Tell us in the comments!

Arby’s Vegetarian Support Hotline: Marketing Gone Bad or Done Right?

Source: Entrepreneur.com
Keeping up with the Joneses, Arby’s? (Source: Entrepreneur.com)

1-855-MEAT-HLP

That’s the number of Arby’s “Vegetarian Support Hotline.” Apparently, it’s something much needed to help us as we plant eaters struggle with the temptation of “Brown Sugar Bacon.” Arby’s wants to be our rock in our time of “need,” according to their “open letter” press release on Tuesday.

We asked this question on Facebook and Twitter: 

Should we #vegans be angry, laugh at or simply ignore Arby’s latest stunt? Tell us your thoughts! http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/an-open-letter-from-arbys-to-vegetarians-across-america-300109374.html

Posted by The Food Duo on Wednesday, July 8, 2015

We got a mixed bag of responses with some finding the letter comical to others being offended. What about us? It left us puzzled, and me a bit angry. It wasn’t so much the content which was “silly” and said to have been written by a bad comic. It was more the dumbing down of the target audience(s) and trying to understand the reason for this tactic.

Arby’s has been losing traction over the years. In 2014, the Washington Post reported on a study by the NPD group which revealed Arby’s customers trended as being the oldest in the fast food industry. The company began to take measures to connect with a younger demographic, i.e. “millennials,” by renovating store locations, changing their menu and engage in more clever content marketing, like a 13-hour brisket roast on YouTube.

Well, it’s not a surprised that “millennials” are often (incorrectly) viewed as “hipsters.” For some in marketing, the profiles of both seems to include a love of bacon, while they’re also looking for healthier food choices. But hey, marketing is about temptation right? So, it makes perfect sense for Arby’s to roll with a bacon launch rather than a vegan option, and then reach out (satirically) to vegetarians.

One response to our initial question on social media was that this tactic was clever. To a degree, it is. It sparked a reaction. However, Arby’s not doing too much on the engagement side with the vegetarians targeted in the press release. Maybe they don’t need to. The “Vegetarian Support Hotline” was their “BRING IT” moment to pad their traffic numbers. By calling the number and getting the dreck of “go make a salad” or “love my bacon,” what was going to happen next other than a beep to leave a message? Was anyone going to call back? Probably not, but the traffic volume, referrals, mentions, RTs, shares, etc. certainly got them the data they needed…for something.

I guess this bit of “humor,” which many saw as a dig, should just be left as it is…a bad joke. I mean, as some people, including omnivores, tweeted and posted, “Who eats at Arby’s anyway?”

Oddly enough, Wendy’s, owns 18.5% of Arby’s. On Wednesday, they launched their #BecauseBaconator campaign. Good timing to get the world salivating over dead pig flesh…oops…bacon (who had a mom). Everyone loves bacon, right? Vegans and vegetarians responded to the #BecauseBaconator hashtag to highlight animal cruelty, health and environmental issues and more. Some flipped it to highlight cruelty-free types of bacon, like we did:

 

 

A photo posted by Carlo + Carmella (@thefoodduo) on

It makes you wonder what level of research, if any, these companies do before they decide to negatively target vegans and vegetarians. Arby’s and Wendy’s are not the first to do it. Earlier this year, McDonald’s had a “Go Beefetarian” campaign with green billboards throughout major cities. In 2013, Red Robin had a campaign with a mom poking fun at a daughter’s want of a veggie burger. There are many more examples out there.

Does pissing off vegetarians and vegans really work? If so, why was McDonald’s testing kale after the “Go Beefetarian” campaign went bust? Why are chains like Subway, Johnny Rocket’s, Chipotle, Bareburger and others making vegan options readily available? There’s an missed opportunity. Vegetarians may only make up 5% of the U.S. population, but that number is growing. So, why not broaden one’s reach? 

OK OK OK! Do we vegans and vegetarians really want to eat at Arby’s? I don’t know. I’ve only been to Arby’s twice in my life and the last time was over 10 years ago. However, for those in remote locations, it could be an option if they had vegan menu items available. Not to mention, if they want to connect with a younger demographic, Arby’s may want to look into the adoption rate of veganism and vegetarianism among “millennials.” 

I know it brings up the debate as to whether vegans should give their money to omnivorous establishments. It can be viewed as not being “vegan enough,” endorsing the idea of “happy meat” or continuing the cycle of animal cruelty. It’s a tough call for some. At the same time, giving money is like voting with your wallet. By purchasing the vegan menu options, it creates demand and can lead to a menu shift. If cattle ranchers and cheesemakers can change, why can’t restaurants?

Going back to this press release and our initial question. While it may have been a “shock and awe” attempt in marketing, should there be a response? Well, you can certainly make that call for yourself. I don’t think it hurts to express your views. Your views can spark others to speak up as well. At the same time, there needs to be value in it without falling into stereotypes. How do we go about doing it and doing it right? While you think it over, here are some great responses to Arby’s “open letter” to date:

Love & Compassion for All: Spread Equality & #VeganLove

We normally don’t blog about serious issues here, but damnit, it’s about time we did! So here we go…

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Source: Pixabay

Today, in the U.S., the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the land. Such a momentous and emotional victory for so many of us who strive for social equality and justice. Straight, gay, lesbian, transgender, queer, etc., we’re all human; we’re all animals. To be able to love and be loved is a gift, but it’s also a right. It’s not a privilege. Same goes with the right to marry. 

As a friend shared, “it’s now called marriage”

Carlo and I have been married 7 years. At no time have we felt our love and ability to marry was better than anyone else. We’ll never know what it was like for our friends who couldn’t be married. We just know their stories and hardships. Now to see that those roadblocks have crumbled, it gives our nation a better chance to grow and heal itself with love. 

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Source: Pixabay

I’m always reminded of the Loving vs. Virginia case that opened the doors for interracial marriage. What they did to push forward for their love is something I’ll always cherish. Why? Because without them, I wouldn’t be here. No, I’m not a relative. My parents are of different races; my mom being black and my dad being white. They were able to marry years after that Supreme Court ruling. For that, I’m alive today and grateful for the diversity I was brought into. 

So, I now have that hope for the kids born and raised in living homes of caring, loving, devoted parents, whether same-sex, interracial, inter-religious, etc. etc. etc. Through them, they’ll carry on a messages of equality and compassion, which I hope will extend to ALL animals

Today, we, as a nation, take our sentient nature to a whole new level. So, cry, scream, jump and yell for this new era of equal love we are in. 

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Source: Pixabay

Now enjoy your weekend! Be full of PRIDE!

2015 Green Festival Coming to NYC This Weekend (April 24-26)

Source: Green Festival, Inc.
Source: Green Festival, Inc.

Hey there friends! How’s your Earth Week/US Veg Week going? Are you on board to make Earth Day everyday? We sure hope so!

Now, many question how they can play a part in improving our environment. The answer can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. Whenever we make a change in our lives, it impacts many around us from our families to wildlife to the air we breathe. Subtle differences over time can be as powerful as one big shift. Again, how do we make that happen? That’s where Green Festivall® can help.

Green Festival, Inc. puts together green living expos throughout the country. They have influencers and experts in environmentalism, sustainability, food and more! Inspiring speakers will give their advice, share tips and educate all who wish to learn about the human and corporate effects on the planet. Not to mention, there’s a marketplace to see some of the latest products that are green/environmentally-friendly.

How excited are we to be going to Green Festival this very weekend!!!! It’s being held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, starting Friday April 24th and running until Sunday, April 26th. That makes THREE DAYS to learn, see and shop! We’ve gone in the past and had a great time, picking up some tips on how many our own beauty products or shopping for recyclable houseware.

Some of speakers in attendance include:
· Pay It Forward Labs will host their ‘Expert DOJO’ mentoring sessions with leaders in the sustainable business industry, who either own/owned or have been high-level executives in multi-million dollar businesses, such as: Elizabeth Berry, TEDx host and business development director at Inflexion Interactive; Hector Marcel, teacher and senior vice president of Learning & Change for John Foley Inc.; John Morgan, founder of a web media company serving charities around the world; and John Bates, CEO and founder of Executive Speaking Success & Business Consulting.
· Antonio Saillant, actor, director and screenwriter, activist in greening the film industry
· Elizabeth Meer, conservation specialist for Governor Cuomo’s office to discuss the State of New York’s sustainability report
· Eric Alterman, author and journalist with The Nation and the Center for America Progress to discuss Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to solve the city’s inequality crisis
· Jeff Garner, fashion designer and artist, founder, Prophetik Clothing
· Joy Bauer, nutrition and health expert on the NBC TODAY Show
· Leslie Durso, vegan chef, appeared on The Food Network, Discovery Channel
· Ron Kamen, CEO of EarthKind Energy, a leader in the world of solar energy

Want to see more? There’s a preview guide available online! 

Source: Green Festival, Inc.
Source: Green Festival, Inc.

If you’re in the NYC area, we hope to see you this weekend. If not, check out when Green Festival is making its way into your city! Visit GreenFestivals.org or follow then on social media:

Stay tuned for some highlights from the festival!!!