NZ Hotlist Dished up for World Vegetarian Month

Although summer isn’t yet here, things are heating up as SAFE announces New Zealand’s Vegetarian Hotlist, celebrating the meteoric rise of plant-based eating, tying in with the start of World Vegetarian Month this October 1st.

Topping the hot list are veggie celebrities singer-songwriter and musician Benny Tipene and actor Emmett Skilton, who have both made the compassionate choice to ditch meat. They follow in the footsteps of last year’s hot celebrities, James Cameron and Samantha Hayes.

The groundswell of kinder food choices is backed up by research. Earlier this year, Roy Morgan Research announced that the proportion of Kiwis who say vegetarian food is all, or almost all, they eat has grown since 2011, to 10% of the population.

Benny Tipene, who went vegetarian in 2009, says, “I’ve always had such a passion and empathy for animals and no longer wish to keep eating beautiful creatures that share the planet with us.” Benny is currently completing his latest album. Emmett Skilton, star of the Almighty Johnsons, made the shift to a plant-based diet more recently and is pleased to have the support of his girlfriend, who chose to make the shift with him. Emmett says, “I feel like I am doing my part to protect the welfare of animals. Plus I feel so good.”

Also getting a special mention is vegan food and lifestyle vlogger Ella Gale, who has a following of over half a million and says, “I am a huge advocate for being the change you want to see.”

Hottest part of New Zealand

Christchurch is SAFE’s top pick for hottest veg area of the country, with its active veggie community and range of eateries catering to vegans, including Lotus Heart and Shroom Room. Invercargill receives an honourable mention for having the world’s southern-most Vegan Society.

Other hot areas for vegetarians:

  • In Auckland, Grey Lynn, Kingsland and Sandringham are the suburbs with the best range of vegetarian eateries in town.
  • The CBD and Newtown are Wellington’s go-to suburbs for hungry veggies.

Hottest Vegetarian Eateries

The Little Bird Unbakery is a hip and funky cafe at three Auckland locations, credited with being at the forefront of raw food in New Zealand. On the fast food front, Hell Pizza is applauded for their number of meat-free options, including the choice of dairy-free cheese on pizzas and fast food chain Burger Fuel, who have consistently offered a range of vegan dishes. 

Hottest veg pies

Kiwis love their pies and top marks go to Auckland’s Tart Bakery, known as a mecca for hungry veggies wanting delicious pies. Plant-based eaters are also increasingly well catered for on a road trip. Last year, the vegan entries in Z Energy’s DIY pie competition gained overwhelming support. Z is to be congratulated for listening to customers’ feedback and incorporating a vegan Mexican pie in their petrol stations nationwide.

Hottest veg businesses

Top pick for the Vegetarian Business category is Little Island, whose sumptuous range of dairy-free ice cream and flavoured coconut milks is available nationwide.

Other hot businesses:

  • Angel food - Creates vegan alternatives to cheeses and other products available through an increasing number of supermarkets and other retailers nationwide.
  • Cruelty Free Shop - Auckland based and mail order, all- vegan food and clothing store.
  • Kai box - Home delivered cook yourself vegan meals, available nationwide.
  • Sunfed Meats - NZ based company creating high protein meat substitutes, that they hope to have in shops later this year. They have been nominated for the 2016 New Zealand Innovation People’s Choice awards. 

To support people wanting to shift towards kinder eating, SAFE have launched a new campaign with a free guide and challenge. 


Do Good, Feel Great!


30 September 2016