Plamil – Plant Milk – is a factory producing vegan chocolate in Folkestone. It’s been leading the way in vegan food production since the 1950s. In the 1970s, Arthur Ling brought the company here from Slough. Arthur’s son and Managing Director, Adrian Ling talks about what it’s like to be ahead of the game in business and food production. And Folkelife got to try chocolate too!
“My father went vegan in 1926. He saw a fish being killed when he was on holiday when he was 7. He decided he’d never eat flesh again. Over the next few years he realised the suffering that cows felt in the dairy industry and he stopped drinking milk too. So he was vegan before the term existed. I suspect there were others too as in 1944 Donald Watson started the Vegan Society and my father was involved from then on.”
“One of the first things the Society did was to form a subcommittee to look alternatives to dairy milk. My father worked with Dr Franklin and Lesley Cross, who were powers in the vegan movement at that time, experimenting with different ‘milks’. It’s incredible looking at these processes and realising just slow and difficult things would have been then. We have a photo of them making the first milk alternative using cabbage protein.”