Vegan 'Great British Baking Show' contestant apologises for using animal products on series

Business Insider US
Freya Cox is the show's first completely vegan baker, but she still has to use animal products.
Love Productions
  • Season-12 contestant Freya Cox is the first vegan baker on "The Great British Baking Show."
  • When the first episode aired, Cox apologised for using animal products for the technical bakes.
  • Some people criticised the show for not giving Cox vegan-friendly alternatives to use.
  • For more stories go to

The first vegan baker on "The Great British Baking Show" is already apologising for having to use animal products.

Known as "The Great British Bake Off" in the UK, the show recently welcomed a new group of bakers for season 12, including Freya Cox, a 19-year-old psychology student and model from North Yorkshire.

The youngest contestant of the season is trying to wow the judges with her plant-based creations, but Cox can't avoid animal products entirely.

The baker said she can't get around using animal products in the technical challenges

Freya Cox made a horse-shaped cookie on the show.
Love Productions

On 14 September, Cox shared on Instagram that she'd be competing on the show, adding that she's "genuinely blessed to share my passion for vegan baking."

When the series premiered a week later, she returned to Instagram to warn followers that she wasn't able to make all of her bakes vegan.

Cox wrote in a disclaimer, "I was desperate to show the world vegan baking is just as exciting with the hope to inspire people to give it a go. For obvious reasons I wasn't able to change the technical challenge as it would mean the whole show was unfair."

Every episode, the contestants complete three rounds of challenges - signature, technical, and showstopper - but the technical round is a surprise and the same ingredients are provided for each baker.

So far on season 12, the technical challenges have been a malt loaf, jammy biscuits, and ciabatta breadsticks - all of which contained animal products, as per the show's website.

Cox's post continued, "Sorry if this is disappointing to hear but once the show has finished I have plans to Veganise the recipes for you all, so I hope this makes up for that."

Some have criticised the show's decision to make Cox use animal products

A still from season 12 of "The Great British Baking Show."
Mark Bourdillon/Netflix

After Cox's announcement, some criticised the show for not making vegan products available for every task.

Elisa Allen, director of Peta UK, told the Daily Mail, "We're in the midst of a vegan revolution, and the producers are taking the cake by not allowing contestants to 'veganise' recipes in the technical challenge."

Allen added that it's "disgraceful" for producers to put contestants in situations that "violate their ethical, religious, or other principals." She also said it was a missed opportunity for the show to introduce fans to plant-based alternatives.

Since 2020, ethical veganism is a philosophical belief that's protected under British law thanks to the efforts of animal-rights activist Jordi Casamitjana. He joined Allen in criticising the show.

"Nobody would force a Muslim or a Jewish person or a teetotaller to do the same," Casamitjana told The Sunday Times.

Prior to receiving an outpouring of support, Cox was criticised for being a vegan baker who loves to ride horses.

The Telegraph, reported she was subjected to online trolling on Facebook after fans found a previously active page dedicated to her equestrian hobby, which they said was cruel to animals. The page no longer seems to exist on Facebook.

Freya Cox and the production team for "The Great British Baking Show" did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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