A vegan restaurant is being forced to relocate after the landowner has criticized the sugar content of its donuts.
Offbeet Food, located on Sunnyfields Farm near Southampton, has been given six months to leave the premises.
The eatery has been running as a takeaway deli service during the UK’s third lockdown. It launched vegan donuts as a way to increase its product offering – and has witnessed customers queuing outside for more than an hour to buy the treats.
Despite the roaring success, landowners Barker-Mill Estates slammed the business move.
According to reports, the company wrote Offbeet a letter, stating ‘sugar of any form causes obesity’. Then, it requested an analysis of sugar content for each donut the restaurant offers.
‘A ludicrous exercise’
Offbeet owner Peter Axworthy said: “The donuts change every week with new flavors. So, we would have had to do them all again, measure them and then bin them all.
“It just would have been a ludicrous exercise just to confirm that yes, donuts have sugar in them… We already knew that…
“They’re a bit healthier anyway because they’re homemade and not processed. This is not a five-doughnuts-for-99p supermarket affair. We were creating high-quality treats.
“The day we reopened in lockdown, it seemed like everyone had turned up for a donut and nothing else — the 13 doughnuts we made went in about 30 minutes.”
‘Goes against our core values’
According to The Times, a representative for Longdown Management, which manages the estates, said: “We’re constantly reviewing the occupiers across our premises to ensure they are aligned with our values.
“While we recognize the donuts Offbeet sells are a luxury treat, the way they have been marketed in recent weeks goes against our core values around health and wellbeing.”
New vegan restaurant
Since the news broke out, a crowdfunding page has launched to help the eatery pay for its relocation. At the time of writing, nearly £1,000 has been raised from 43 donors.
“A lovely customer of ours set up a Go Fund Me page to help us with the costs of moving and restarting at a new venue,” Offbeet wrote.
“This was such a surprise and an incredible gesture. The idea of crowdfunding has crossed our minds in the past. But, we’ve always felt a bit uneasy about asking for help.
“A lot of people have asked how you can help and the support has been overwhelming. A kind message, spreading the word or helping keeping an eye out for vacant venues is more than we could have imagined for.”