If You’re Vegan and Single, You May Want to Move to the UK, or Get This App
Sorry to bring bad news to all you plant-based lovers out there, but if you're single and looking for a match you might want to move to England. That's where the vegan dating world is really heating up, according to new data from a vegan dating app, which counts more vegans per 10 million people. So per capita, England has more vegans per capita who are single than the US. Then again there is a glimmer of hope: There are more vegans overall in the US. So if you are looking for love, there is an app that is designed to make it easier to make that elusive "veg-match."
The Beet interviewed. Alex Felipelli, Veggly founder (pronounced with the soft "g" like veggies) and learned how to navigate the tricky world of dating in the time of COVID-19 as a single vegetarian or vegan.
Dating in the time of COVID-19 is complicated. Add being vegan to that
First of all, when do you tell your date that you are vegan and only want to date other vegans? That questions just doesn't come up when you're in a vegan dating app. You assume they' like you, are staying away from meat and dairy for ethical, health and environmental reasons. Pass the tofu. This is going to be a hot night!
The recent data, which just came out from the app's data mine of users,shows the vest place to be vegan and looking for love is the UK. In fact the app had more users sign up in England, Germany, Australia, Brazil and Canada than in the US. The number of American vegans trying to date other vegans only outpaced Spain and France. So perhaps the "vegan dating" game would merit a trip to London just about now (it has a great array of vegan restaurants).
We asked Alex Felipelli, the founder of Veggly, about how to date vegan in the time of COVID-19, when going out is complicated, to say the least.
Q: When and why did you launch Veggly?
AF: I am a computer engineer by background and launched the app in October of 2018. I got divorced and I am a vegan, so I was looking for options. You may or may not know, if you're not in this world, but that is something that can become a challenge. To me, the vegan lifestyle and value system is really important in a mate. So I created Veggly to make it easier.
When you meet someone, and you don't tell them you're vegan, there can be an awkward moment when they find out. They can get into debates or be disagreeable. Veggly thinks the way to go is to know it in advance. So that's why people join Veggly.
Being vegan and single, you want to meet other vegans. I talked to a lot of friends and vegans and they agreed and they said it sounds like a great idea. I wanted to start something. This was a great opportunity for something I believe in. Help the community in finding their veg-match.
Q: Was Veggly a hit from the start?
AF: In the beginning, it was slow and takes a while before you get some more growth but in the middle of 2019, it started to pick up and have a lot more users. We went from 20,000 in mid-2019 and we grew to more than 100,00 by the end of the year. Close to 130,000 users now. We have more people signed up in the US but the UK is by far the leader in vegans per capita. There are just more vegans in ratio to the population in England.
Q: Is the Veggly app free and why would someone use it over other dating apps?
AF: Veggly is a free model, costs nothing to set up your account. The app is available globally so we are in every country. We also have a paid subscription available that allows you to veg-match when someone likes you back. Without the paid version you only get it when they like you and you like them back. In the paid version you can see who liked you-- even before you like them back. You can see that 13 people liked your profile and you can see them before you choose to like them back.
The "like" is confidential. But there is also a super like. We can include a message with it and it will send them a notification and email and the other user can see the super like. it increases the chances of a match.
It's another way of doing it is to go onto Match or another app and use the little green sprout emoji on Tinder. A lot of our users do that as well. We don't expect them to completely stop using other apps when the sign up for Veggly. But we do see a lot of people complaining that the experience they get from those apps, when they get matched to meat-eaters in other apps is not great. Because when you start chatting and you like someone and start talking about the fact that you're vegan it can get uncomfortable and it's not worth having any arguments or disagreements about it. If you're vegan you don't want to have to defend it.
Q: What countries are Veggly available to? Where is it most downloaded?
The countries we focus on are the U.K., Australia, Germany, and Brazil. And the US of course. You can sort by distance from a potential match, and see first the people who are within one mile, two-miles, etc. You can set up filters and set up maximum distance as 30 miles and 100 miles. etc. Some people say they leave those distance filters on large because they just want to meet people.
In absolute terms, the country with the largest number of users is the USA, but relative to its population, the UK is the largest country on Veggly. So that means per 10 million people there are more in the UK looking for a vegan match. And more women are looking for a vegan match. Right now, 47% of users are men and 53% are women
Q: What can you do on the app?
AF: You can meet people by matching and chatting. It's much more similar to Hinge. You like someone, they like you, then it's a match. A lot of people use it for finding friends, actually. We have plans to make it officia -- as a friend finder --in the future. So you can make vegan friendship matches.
When you go vegan you already have your friends, and mostly they are nonvegan so you would be happy to find new friends who think like you and eat like you. So it's important to find new friends. So a lot of people don't restrict their geographic location.
Q: Do a lot of vegans match?
AF: We have a lot of success stories of people who found a girlfriend or boyfriend. None of them told us they are getting married, yet. We have testimonials -- we have a testimonial page of people who have found love on the site. We have iOS and Android and it is accessible on the site. It was created as an app first.
Q: Do you find that more people are vegetarian or vegan on your platform?
AF: More vegans and I think it's because vegetarians can pretty much date anyone but vegans want to date other vegans. About 58 percent of our users are vegan, 28 percent vegetarian and 14 percent are in transition. And I think it's to be expected the vegetarians also would like to meet others to date but they are a little less strict in the sense of their vegan values. Vegans like to share the same value system. And it's not just about food. The food is one point for their vegan lifestyle but vegans often feel strongly about their ethical values and want to be with someone with similar values.
Q: Have more people downloaded the app since quarantine started?
AF: We noticed people were accessing it more especially at the beginning of COVID-19 when the quarantines and restrictions started to take place. We saw a bump in the rate of not necessarily new users bout just accessing the app more often. Since 2019 we have seen 5x the growth: In July there were 21,250 users worldwide and now we have 128,000 as of May and even more in June.
We did a promotion -- warning, "Stay home but make arranged dates" and we gave them 10 coins to send super likes to help with that. Just stay home and meet new people but until it's safe, don't go out. A lot of more people were using it. (You get coins when you sign up or you can buy them. )
As for sexual orientation, 78.1% of users declare to be heterosexuals, 7.1%, as gay and 14.7%, as bisexual.
Q: What is the next step for Veggly?
AF: Hopefully if we have more vegans and vegetarians on the app in the coming weeks since it's still hard to meet someone if there are fewer parties and you don't go out and hang out in restaurants or bars.
We just reached the 200,000 veg matches. Out of 130,000 subscribers, so people are finding their matches. Some people have made lots of matches! This kind of app you get more matches per user, the more users you have.
We definitely want to hold Virtual Events in the future. We also have this vision of making it more of a social network for vegans and vegetarians. The part about the friends and finding your new vegan BFF to bring people in and use it more to find friends and access information around everything that entails the vegan life. We also are introducing video calling, so people can chat within the app before they meet in person. Especially now when social distancing still in place so that is important so they can meet before they meet.
Until then try out Veggly and see if you find your vegan match. You never know!
Country-based numbers can be derived from this. For example, if sending to a publisher in the US, it's probably relevant that US has 24% of 128,000 users = 30,500 users. The percentages didn't change much so it's safe to assume it was about ⅕ of that in Jul/2019, so about 5,000 users.
Dark blue is men, light blue is women