(VEGAN) This year’s Libby Awards will recognize companies and individuals who have contributed significantly to a vegan lifestyle. Peta2, a division of PETA geared toward teens and young adults, is hosting the awards and will give out Libbys (short for liberation) for the best in vegan food offerings, cruelty-free fashion and cosmetics, and vegan celebrity heroes. Nominees include restaurants like Chipotle and Veggie Grill as well as many popular vegan brands such as Gardein, Tofurky, Beyond Meat, and Daiya.

From food categories like Best Vegan Dessert and Best Vegan Cheese to Most Animal Friendly Celeb and Best Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Company, the awards ceremony covers all aspects of veganism. Read on for more information on the awards and how you can vote for your favorite vegan-friendly companies. — Global Animal

(VEGAN) Dole's Banana Chocolate Dippers with Almonds is nominated for Best Accidentally Vegan Food. Photo Credit: jamiecooksitup.net
Dole’s Banana Chocolate Dippers with Almonds is nominated for Best Accidentally Vegan Snack. (VEGAN) Photo Credit: jamiecooksitup.net

If the eighth annual Libby Awards from peta2, PETA’s youth division, are any indication, going vegan gets easier and more delicious with each passing year. More than ever, young people are turning away from meat, eggs, dairy, which cause animal suffering, and a growing number of restaurants and food companies are hearing them loud and clear. “Libby” is for “liberation”—as in animal liberation—and this year’s nominees have really gone out of their way to expand and improve their meat-, dairy-, and egg-free options. So peta2 has selected the best of the best as finalists vying to take home a Libby.

This year’s awards are divided into three general sections: food, lifestyle, and heroes, honoring the best in vegan foods, fashion and beauty, and celeb supporters. Each section includes a variety of categories, and the food section is extra-exciting this year, as there are not only many new nominees but also new categories!

Up for Best Vegan-Friendly Restaurant Chain is Chipotle, whose build-your-own ordering system has made it a favorite of vegans and vegetarians for years. But the recent phase-in of vegan pinto beans and the superb tofu Sofritas have made the eatery a leading contender. In the same category is national chain Tropical Smoothie Café, thanks to the addition of vegan chicken strips from Beyond Meat that have to be tasted to be believed. Earth Balance, famous for its nondairy buttery spreads, is garnering rave reviews in the category of Best Vegan Snack for its Aged White Cheddar Flavor Puffs, which have all the flavor of cheese puffs but don’t cause cows and their calves to suffer on dairy farms. Other food nominees include Gardein for its delicious vegan meats, Ruffles Tapatío Limón chips in the new Best Accidentally Vegan Snack category, and the Soul Vegetarian restaurant chain.

“Animal rights is one of the fastest-growing social movements in America and worldwide, and young people are leading the charge by insisting on cruelty-free eating,” says PETA Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “All our animal-friendly nominees are winners because they’re offering some of the best and most delicious food products on the market.”

Voting ends on December 13. Winners will be chosen by peta2 based on several factors, including vote count, and will be announced on December 18. See the full contest details here.

For more information and to cast your vote to help peta2 decide whom it should choose as the winners, please visit peta2.com/Libbys.