Disappointing news regarding Ohm on Hollywood Road. Ohm is to no longer be marketed as vegan nor even vegetarian. Here’s what’s happening…
(Pic source, wiki commons)
In 2016 we reported Ohm on Hollywood Road opened as a new vegan cafe. On a visit to Ohm last week someone spotted brushes for sale in Ohm’s shop section. The brushes were marked by the manufacturer as made with wool, a point we raised with the people there who manage Ohm. They endeavoured to justify this by saying:-
- the wool came from a special farm in Taiwan where sheep aren’t raised for slaughter
- the sheep in question are rescue sheep
- the sheep have to be sheared as part of their well keeping
Sheep being rescued rather than slaughtered is obviously a positive step if that is indeed the case. However by using the wool from sheep to make products for sale such as brushes, we are in the realms of sheep becoming a commodity.
A vegan marketed business selling wool brushes could potentially open an enormous metaphorical can of worms. It could be the thin end of a very sizeable wedge. If first it’s considered vegan to use wool from sheep in allegedly special circumstances, what does that lead to next?
From the brief discussion that took place the General Manager, Shan Cheung, advised she would raise this among the partners involved at Ohm. We visited Ohm again today and asked Shan the outcome of the conversation among the partners. Shan replied:-
- They have decided that from the three pillars on which Ohm was launched, fair trade will be the priority ahead of veganism and being organic
- Ohm as a business will be marketed as neither vegan nor even vegetarian. This is due to what they may offer in the shop section. It is her intention to continue with only vegan items in the small food menu they have. However veganism nor even vegetarianism will be a mandatory policy of the Ohm business model
This will obviously generate some work for them since the brand name on which Ohm is marketed is “Ohm Vegan Lab”.
(Ohm’s branding will require updating)
This is obviously a disappointment and things would have been much better had Ohm decided to persevere trying veganism. However we acknowledge that is a decision for the management team at Ohm. We thank Shan for her open and honest response to our questions. The question on whether selling animal products constitutes fair trade we will leave for another time.
Regrettably Ohm has been de-listed from our guide of Hong Kong’s all vegan eateries.
See follow up article, Ohm’s reply to our article – unclear if they claim to be all-vegan again. Ohm have been asked again after the follow up article about their commitment to an all-vegan stock policy. Rather than give a straight answer, they again try to play on words to avoid answering the question.