Natural Foods Merchandiser
True Blood's Kristin Bauer: I'm wary of the ingredients in some vegan foods

True Blood's Kristin Bauer: I'm wary of the ingredients in some vegan foods

How can retailers provide a better shopping experience for the busy vegan customer? True Blood's Kristin Bauer has some ideas.

Actress and animal rights activist Kristin Bauer plays the sarcastic vampire Pam on HBO’s True Blood series. Ironically, in her personal life Bauer pursues a lifestyle of compassion and nonviolence, which includes being a vegan.

NFM: Veganism is becoming more mainstream. What information will you share at Expo West to excite the retailer audience?

Kristin Bauer: People ask me the same things over and over: “What do you eat?” and “How do you do it?” If we can shift how we think about mealtimes, the door will open for a healthier future. I plan to offer attendees tools to help their customers make that shift.

NFM: Can you name a shopping experience in which you felt your dietary needs were welcomed and accommodated?

KB: I travel a lot, and to very unhealthy parts of the country. Though it might be difficult for some to believe, many conventional stores still don’t offer organic options. When I see an organic section, I hear violins. It’s also encouraging to see more conventional stores carrying products that previously would be found only in natural products stores. When I saw Earth Balance butter in the Midwest, I almost cried.

NFM: You’re vegan but your husband is not. How would you have the natural products industry address both of your food needs?

KB: It’s all about choices. Many natural products stores do a great job of offering vegan foods, but I’m still wary of some of these products’ ingredients. I’d vote for a grocery buyer who’s a health expert and aware that natural granola with nonorganic canola oil is not actually natural.

In fact, I’d love better labeling across the board. In my fantasy, if I am really dreaming, I’d also like thorough and accurate food labels. I know cage-free eggs does not mean free range, but does the average consumer? I’d also get rid of products that contain genetically modified ingredients. They’re not natural, so they don’t belong in a natural foods store. Demanding higher product standards serves both vegans and omnivores.

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