The choc-top: it’s a classic Aussie cinema treat.
But as an increasing number of compassionate Australians choose to eat only cruelty-free food, there’s less demand for this dairy product.
So when Event Cinemas launched its annual My Choc Top competition, a number of people chose to propose delicious vegan creations – and set social media alight.
Cassandra Toohey’s idea for a ‘Classic Vegan Choc Top‘ quickly shot to first place in the contest, with almost 3,000 votes and a huge amount of support on Facebook.
Other cruelty-free concepts followed, and soon, the entire top 10 consisted of vegan choc-tops.
The competition’s terms and conditions state that the top three choc-top creations will be sold as limited-edition offerings at select Event Cinemas locations. The most popular choc-top at the end of the period will be the overall winner.
As the buzz intensified on Facebook and vegan entries dominated the top 10, it seemed likely that a dairy-free choc-top would win.
But unfortunately, Event Cinemas has now controversially declined to offer a vegan version. Everyone who had created a vegan choc-top received an e-mail from the company explaining that its choc-tops will not be made vegan and that the word “vegan” had been removed from the title of all competition entries. Even though the contest’s terms and conditions did not forbid dairy-free or vegan options, Event Cinemas modified every vegan entry to include cruelly obtained dairy products.
Social media has been in an uproar ever since – scores of comments on the company’s Facebook page admonish it for this misguided decision.
Given the growing market for vegan alternatives in Australia, the refusal to create a cruelty-free choc-top is a huge missed opportunity for the cinema chain.
In 2016, Australia topped global Google Trends data for searches for the word “vegan”. In addition, “vegan” was 2016’s most popular health movement by far – and online searches relating to vegan eating trumped those for paleo, vegetarian, sugar- and gluten-free, and “5:2” diets.
Last year, PETA Australia also saw an 80 per cent increase in orders of its vegan starter kit.
It’s never been easier to replace dairy foods with cruelty-free options. In fact, many other cinemas are already doing so. Melbourne icon Cinema Nova offers a ton of vegan options, including Zebra Dream ice cream and Pana Chocolate. Many chains, including Hoyts and Palace Cinemas, also offer vegan popcorn, and Grand Cinemas in Western Australia even offers a vegan Tex-Mex nacho platter!
In Sydney, the ever-popular Gelato Blue churns out delicious vegan waffle-cone sundae creations that would put even the finest choc-top to shame.