A recently launched vegan and vegetarian dating app, Vegpal, is set to cause big waves this year in the plant-based world.
After Veganuary 2022, and as spring is now in the air, aspiring vegans everywhere will be looking for ways to stay on track with their new lifestyle.
Vegans need to master plant-based alternatives to animal-based foods, tasty recipes, eating out, and how to get the right nutrients. Then there’s vegan clothing, cleaning products, and skincare to consider.
Thankfully there are many apps to provide support for these things including, HappyCow, Forks Over Knives, 21 Day Vegan Kickstart, and VNutrition.
But what about finding a vegan soulmate?
Dating might not be top of the app download list for newly fledged vegans or vegetarians, but as their values and passion for plant-based living grows, so too might their preference for a partner with similar interests.
With more than 500,000 vegans in the UK and 1.2 million vegetarians, it’s no wonder regular dating apps are starting to offer vegan and vegetarian preferences. However, the majority of people on these apps don’t follow a plant-based lifestyle. For some vegans and veggies this is a deal breaker for intimate relationships.
This is where Vegpal comes in.
Animal rights activists launch dating app
Dahlia and Sravan, two Boston-based animal rights activists, created the mobile app Vegpal to provide a dating platform exclusively for vegans and vegetarians. Disenchanted with their experiences dating outside the plant-based community, they recognized the need for a space for vegans to meet, connect, and date others that share their values and lifestyle.
The app was designed with the vegan community in mind. Infused with the colors of the vegan flag, Vegpal offers a simple yet beautiful user interface, designed to create a relaxing experience for members.
Vegans and vegetarians in the dating scene
Eating together is a huge part of building any relationship as dating often entails dinners, coffee dates and lunches. A survey by Zava Med of Europeans and Americans found that over 70 percent of singles choose a restaurant for a first date, while another popular choice is a coffee shop or cafe. Relationship building goes hand in hand with eating and drinking but for vegans and vegetarians this could get in the way.
This is what Vegpal founder Dahlia found. She was put off meeting up with omnivores through dating apps. Dahlia said, “I was fed up swiping past pictures of fishing expeditions and sitting opposite people eating carcasses.”
A SpeedDater survey found that 27 percent of vegans and vegetarians have had a partner’s food habits contribute to the end of a relationship. For most vegans and vegetarians, it’s not just a diet, it’s a philosophy.
It makes sense that a lifestyle-specific dating app could help people find a soulmate with similar values.
Having shared interests matters
One of the key things that makes the dating experience fun is talking about shared interests.
Stimulating these conversations is an integral part of the Vegpal experience. Like Facebook, where users can share a statement or link on their profile page, Vegpal users can post something of interest to them. It could be the latest vegan podcast they heard, a book, YouTube video, or pictures of a marathon they ran.
The idea behind Vegpal’s unique “My Feed” function was to allow members to express their personalities and interests and create more interesting conversations.
Dahlia explained how they managed to combine social media with a dating profile to help people strike up meaningful conversations. “There’s only so much you can tell about someone from their profile stats and it doesn’t always make for rich conversation.”
Security and safety when dating online
Safety was at the forefront of developing Vegpal. After downloading the app, users complete a mini-application process. This helps the app’s team rule out scammers, trolls, and carnivores. It ensures members always feel secure and helps them avoid time wasters.
A 2020 Pew Research Centre Study found that many women are experiencing some form of harassment on dating sites and apps. Fifty-seven percent said they’d received sexually explicit messages or images they hadn’t asked for.
Quality over quantity
Creating quality connections for members, rather than quantity, is a priority for Vegpal. Unlike most dating apps, Vegpal limits daily swipes in order to create a space where each “like” is thoughtful. Dahlia said, “it’s not about endless scrolling and endless faces, it’s about quality conversations and connections.”
Vegpal strives to be an ethical player in the dating market, moving away from the concept of online dating as a pseudo-marketplace where people shop for potential partners the same way they shop for a new phone or tv.
A really important element of any community is to foster inclusivity and Vegpal takes extra care to ensure its app embraces everyone in the plant-based world.
One of the values of its founders was to ensure LGBTQIA+ representation. They did this by consulting with people in these communities while building the app to get a sense of how best to include everyone and make them feel seen.
Vegpal incorporates categories for gender that enable people to express their identity while having the best opportunity to get matched.
Meeting vegan friends, not just soul mates
The ethos behind Vegpal is to create meaningful connections and this is reflected in the latest feature to be launched very soon.
Plant Based News has received insider information that plans are afoot for Vegpal to launch a “friendship” function. The aim is to offer members a way to build non-romantic connections with like-minded others locally and globally.
For anyone planning to venture into the dating scene, Vegpal could be the answer to meeting like-minded others and growing a vegan friendship group.