Happy New Year to all our readers. It’s that time of year when you look forward at the fresh new year and at the same time look back at what you did last year. It’s a strange thing actually, as after all it’s just another day in a another week. Yet it doesn’t seem just another day! We think of fresh beginnings, new starts and we all try to look forward (hoping for better days).
I would like to look back at 2018 and share what we achieved last year, and at the same to give some insights on some of our plans for 2019.
The greatest success for 2018
I must say that all things considered 2018 was a very good year for Veggy Malta. Let’s hope that 2018 is a benchmark for 2019. There is no doubt that our greatest success was Malta Meat Free Week. This was the first initiative of it’s kind locally, and thanks to the support of our sponsors, ambassadors, participating shops and restaurants and the actual participants, it was a big success. Many people who are not vegetarians or vegans tried staying meat free for one week. And for whoever is asking in their mind, yes Malta Meat Free Week is happening again in 2019.
Yet there were many other highlights for the year. Let’s start with this website. We had circa 850,000 visits during 2018 (awesome). Traffic on veggymalta.com is constant and for local standards very good. Yet there is much more to the website. Veggy Malta started as a personal blog. yet it has evolved. Along with our standard posts on products and places, today there are a number of regular contributors in food (both vegetarian and vegan), animal welfare and lifestyle issues. Veggy Malta is growing into an online veggy lifestyle magazine, with space for individuals to write and share their thoughts.
Our presence on Social
We started the year very low on social media. I went back to check where we were, and the number of likes on Veggy Malta’s Facebook page were less than 500. We closed the year with more than 5000 likes on our page. This was our target for 2018 and it was achieved. We obviously need to aim higher for 2019. Clearly social media is an important platform for us to spread the message. Here as well, we are not targeting the converted (vegetarians and vegans). Our aim is to reach out. Our message is aimed at those that are still eating meat. Obviously by default both vegetarians and vegans fit in.
What’s interesting here for 2019 are the programs like Animal Talk that we are doing with MSPCA. There also are the promotions with PAMA / PAVI where our role is that to help increase awareness on health products in collaboration with suppliers, and at the same time giving consumers offers to try these products out at a discounted price. More of this kind is planned for 2019.
Supporting the local health shop community
Last year we visited, wrote and promoted many health shops from small to large. In fact we visited a good number of shops and wrote about them. We will try to visit more and new health shops in 2019 and also re-visit the ones we already visited in 2018. I should emphasise that we visit the shops by invitation and try to meet up with the owner or manager of the shop. It is not our philosophy to do mystery shopping of shops.
Meat free dining
One area that is growing (maybe a bit too slowly) are restaurants and eat-outs that offer vegetarian and vegan dishes. The choice is certainly increasing, and last year we actually visited a number of veggy friendly restaurants. Yet for 2019 we need to do more in this area. We obviously need to help and encourage restaurants to move forward. In some cases we need them to understand what is vegetarian and vegan (eg if a plate contains Parmegiano it is not vegetarian). Restaurants also need to be creative in their offering for vegetarians and vegans.
Many people are saying that 2019 will be a great year for the veggy movement. I hope so! I believe so! Yet for that to happen, for change to happen we all need to do our part. If you have any ideas, or would like to contribute online or in any of our campaigns in some manner, feel free to send me a message.
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