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HappyCow, the free online platform that lists sources of vegan and vegetarian food all over the world, has just launched a new social search function for its users to connect with other plant-based community members online. As social distancing becomes a norm in the age of coronavirus, the new tool will help like-minded plant-based folks all over the world to communicate remotely.
The Santa Monica-headquartered company revealed that its new free option will allow its registered members to directly find other users and communicate online. Previously, HappyCow members can create their own profiles, but the platform largely focused on users providing recommendations and reviews of vegan, vegetarian and vegan-friendly food establishments, from restaurants to cafés and grocery stores.
“I realised how isolated many of my vegan and vegetarian friends had become during quarantine, and equally how strongly our member community of 450,000+ has wanted to connect with one other for friendship and support,” Eric Brent, CEO and founder of HappyCow, told Natural Products Global.
With the new function, HappyCow members can search for other members by their “veg-status”, such as whether they are considered vegans or vegetarians, and filter for location and other interest groups such as campaigners, athletes and foodies.
It is not a compulsory option for members to sign up to, and those who wish not to participate in the social aspects of the site can simply opt out of the feature.
The social connect feature on the site comes as social distancing and remote communication becomes a norm. Even though many economies are now beginning to ease lockdown measures, people are spending far more time at home, and many vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those with chronic health problems have relied on digital modes of connection to stay in touch and socialise with others.
HappyCow was founded twenty years ago, and has since grown into a global resource for the plant-based community to find cruelty-free eateries locally, or to check for suggestions on their travels abroad. The platform also provides vegan recipe ideas, health articles and trending plant-based news.
Earlier this year in February, Brent alluded to the new social feature in an interview with Green Queen. “We’re going to work on building the community and interaction between members,” said Brent.
“We want to create a place where people are safe to ask questions and find people they can relate to. Of course, the primary purpose of HappyCow remains the same, to provide the highest quality information, and continue with the integrity and reliability of our data.”
Lead image courtesy of HappyCow / designed by Green Queen Media.