A popular vegan bakery in Sheffield has been named as one of the winners at PETA’s 2023 Vegan Food Awards.
With competition in the vegan food industry ever increasing, PETA’s 2023 Vegan Food Awards is highlighting the dairy-free crème de la crème of plant-based fare.
During the 11th annual celebration of animal-free offerings, a Sheffield-based bakery, Lovely Rita’s Bakehouse, was crowned a winner for its pistachio cream-filled croissant. Other winners included huge names from itsu to ASDA, making the win all the more impressive.
Last month saw the 100 per cent vegan Lovely Rita’s Bakehouse open its first shop beside the bakery in Stag Works, in Highfield; and it marked a new partnership with coffee vendor Puck & Pollen. The pair behind the businesses are 33-year-old Jim McGill of Lovely Rita’s Bakehouse, and Courtney Bordman of Puck & Pollen, both with over 10 years of experience in their industries.
Speaking about the award, Jim said: "I looked at the categories and it was all big brands like M&S and Greggs, and then there was just us - an independent bakery. It feels really nice to be recognised."
Before the opening of the shop, Jim sold through wholesalers with a number of ‘solid customers’ in Sheffield, such as Steam Yard - but he had always dreamed of opening up somewhere of his own. When the opportunity finally came along, he asked his friend Courtney to join him.
Jim said: "It’s going great, we’ve had a really strong response - I didn’t really anticipate it.
"I trained six to seven years ago in traditional baking using dairy and eggs, but not long after finishing the diploma I turned vegan, mainly for the animals. But I still wanted to eat all the nice things, so I had to figure out how to make them myself.
"You might find vegan croissants or more simple baked items in other places, but what I make is more interesting. We’ve got non-vegan people coming in to try our flavoured croissants. The almond, snickers and cream-filled pistachio are probably our biggest sellers.
"At the moment we’re just selling coffees, pastries and bread, but once we have got more into a rhythm we are going to add more savoury lunch-time options too, such as vegan sausage rolls and toasties."
There is limited seating inside the shop for people to pop in and sit down. There is also outdoor seating with plans to install a shelter with heat lamps for a more comfortable visit during the winter.