Bristol’s first fully vegan ice cream van which sells plant-based Mr Whippys is set to become a permanent fixture on the city’s harbourside.
Happy Cow, run by Chris Reed, who also owns popular fish and chip shop Farrows, has been the talk of the town since it popped up at Breaking Bread this summer.
It’s the only truck in the city to sell just vegan ice cream, made from plant-based milk and coconut oil, with vegan toppings and waffle cones, while the tubs and spoons are compostable.
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You won’t spot it parked up on the streets of Bristol just yet as it awaits a formal licence – but owner Chris says it won’t be long until the white and pink van sets up shop on Narrow Quay on the harbourside, as part of a ‘new space’ for vendors in Bristol.
“Everyone is sceptical about vegan ice cream,” says Chris, 47, who isn’t vegan himself.
“I’d only ever have made it if it was going to be better than normal ice cream.
“I just thought, I can do better. For ethical reasons, we can produce something better.”
Chris, who has worked in catering since he was 14, is on a mission to make the truck itself carbon neutral, and has plans to run the van off biofuel from leftover oil from his fish and chip shop.
He says Bristol is the best place to sell vegan ice cream as it’s a “very open” city.
“There is definitely a gap in the market,” he added.
“There was another ice cream van which started doing vegan stuff and went down to Devon. They hooked us up with some contacts though, which was very nice of them.”
Chris inside his ‘Happy Cow’ van
(Image: John Myers)
Two years ago Bristol was named the vegan capital of the world, with the most searches relating to veganism than anywhere else.
Chris, father to five-year-old Esme, says the “popularity has gone mad” for his vegan ice cream, which he is preparing to sell at Valley Fest in Chew Magna this weekend.
It’s been so well received that Chris has plans to do-up another van.
“I’ve already been thinking about getting another van,” he said. “Since last week it’s just gone mad.
“But we don’t have the staff yet and I can’t do it all at the same time.”
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