The Truth About The 'Costco For Vegans'

It didn't seem too long ago that being vegetarian – never mind being vegan – was a niche, lifestyle decision. But thanks to factors including concerns over animals' rights and welfare, worries about the environment and managing one's personal carbon footprint, as well as a push to better manage both health and weight (via The Guardian), what was once a fringe movement has gone mainstream. A Gallup survey conducted in September 2019 actually reported that nearly a quarter of Americans say they ate less meat in 2018 than they did before – only about five percent said they ate more meat than they did before. 

Given an overall shift in public interest towards a plant-based diet, it would make sense for enterprising souls to create a one-stop-shop for vegans and vegetarians to go for all their plant-based food needs, which is exactly what brothers Trevor and Tyler Hitch did in 2019, when they founded VEDGEco in Kailua, Hawaii (via Vegan Magazine). 

VEDGEco carries an extensive selection of plant-based foods

VEDGEco is a vegan's dream. It carries a more extensive selection of the plant-based food brands we would have otherwise found in limited quantities at a regular grocer. The store distributes products from brands including All Vegetarian, Bob's Red Mill, Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Earth Balance, Gardein, Ocean Hugger Foods, and Tofurky. At the moment, VEDGEco's customers in Hawaii place their orders online and then decide whether they want to pick up their orders outside the store or to have them delivered at home. The vegan distributor's current top sellers online were, as of this writing, Beyond Meat's sausage line, Alpha Food's "chicken" products, and All Vegetarian's smoked drumsticks and bacon slices. Because let's face it: even vegans (particularly converts) may miss their chicken wings, burgers, and sausages and will happily take a plant-based substitute if it's on offer. 

The high demand for plant-based food in Hawaii made the brothers realize that the US mainland could use a similar service – so they decided to set up a similar service there (via Vegan Magazine).

VEDGEco is setting up a similar service on the US mainland

VEDGEco is set to open on the US Mainland in August, and it takes a page out of Costco's playbook by distributing products in bulk quantities to both restaurants and directly to consumers, (via And Now You Know)"Our mission at VEDGEco is to make plant-based products more affordable and accessible for everyone across the United States, not just for restaurants and caterers, but for individuals and families to enjoy at home too," the retail outlet's co-founder and CEO Trevor Hitch said. "Buying plant-based foods in bulk will save our customers a great deal of money. The added convenience of having these products shipped directly to their doors within one to two business days will make it easier than ever for every American to try a plant-based diet or add plant-based alternatives to their menu." 

The plan is to open shipping facilities on both the East and West Coasts, which ensures that customers can receive orders within 1-2 business days. The orders will be delivered frozen, and packed with environmentally friendly insulation and dry ice (via Vegan Magazine). It's too early to say whether the brothers' move to the mainland will become as successful as the warehouse store they had modeled themselves after. At least vegans and vegetarians on the US mainland will be grateful that the Hitch brothers are giving their vision a shot.