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UK News

Vegan cafe charges customers 10p more to have cow’s milk

3 Mins read
Tom Floyd and his shop Abbey Road Coffee in Malvern, Worcestershire.
The Worcestershire cafe, owned by Tom Floyd and his wife, wants to ‘start challenging dairy drinkers without cutting them off’ (Picture: Triangle News)

A vegan café has been criticised by dairy drinkers for charging customers extra to have cow’s milk.

But the family-owned Worcestershire venue’s move was also praised for prioritising the planet and for not cutting off non-vegans completely.

Abbey Road Coffee make dairy milk 10p extra compared to oat or almond alternatives – in a reversal of the policy at most coffee shops and despite the alternatives being more expensive.

Owner Tom Floyd, who is vegan, defended the decision and said it was designed to make drinkers think about their dietary choice and the planet.

The Malvern café’s unusual move has proved divisive among customers and led to a dramatic increase in coffee fans opting for oat milk.  

Mr Floyd explained: ‘I wanted to start challenging dairy drinkers without completely cutting them off.

‘It’s not about the cost in any way, it’s about the choice.

Abbey Road Coffee shop.
The venue is charging 10p extra for drinking cow’s milk (Picture: Triangle News)

‘Plant based milk costs much more than dairy for us to supply.

‘We have seen the number of plant based drinks we serve increase from around 10 per cent of sales to now almost 50 per cent of sales, with oat being the most popular.

‘This indicates that people are making the change which is really encouraging to see.’

But one customer, Emmanual Fahngon, slammed the decision, saying: ‘As someone who is on a path to a mostly plant-based diet for health and well-being, environment and animals I don’t agree.

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‘People should have a choice. Not stick out like a sore thumb for choosing dairy.’

Picture of the menu at Abbey Road Coffee shop
Oat milk comes in drinks as standard at the venue (Picture: Instagram)
Picture of Tom Floyd, the owner of Abbey Road Coffee shop.
Mr Floyd and his wife Sarah would like to make the cafe fully vegan in future (Picture: Triangle News)

But another, called Jessica, countered: ‘I’m not vegan but personally happy to see this change.

‘I feel like people are quick to judge vegan options but this way wouldn’t notice until it’s too late to realise vegan milks are actually a great swap.’

Another added: ‘Nice to see the reverse happening for once,’ in reference to plant-based milks tending to be more expensive.

Coffee chains often charge up to 40p to upgrade to coconut, oat or almond milk in hot drinks.

The Malvern shop also axed meat in 2018 to become completely vegetarian.

Mr Floyd, who has owned the café for six years with his wife Sarah, added: ‘We have been trying to completely change our coffee shop into a vegan and plant based coffee shop.

‘Slowly all our cake became vegan and we started to discount anyone who had plant based milk by 10p.’

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He explained that the café’s cow milk comes from a local dairy farm, Bennetts, and all drinks now are made with oat as standard but soya, coconut and almond is also available.

Mr Floyd added that the staff – many of whom are environmentally conscious vegans and vegetarians – won’t be turning the cafe fully plant-based, despite some calls to go fully vegan.

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He said: ‘Some say why not completely stop dairy altogether?

‘Morally we would love to, however we fear that a complete change to exclusively plant-based milk would leave us financially vulnerable, as at present we would be isolating 50 per cent of our customers.

‘We are still just a family-owned business and therefore I have to think of that.

‘We feel the way we are approaching the issue is working well for us at the moment and we have a lot of support from both vegans and non-vegans alike.’

But he and his wife hope that they could make the next step ‘over the next few years’.

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