Finding plant-based food options on-the-go just got easier. HappyCow—an online service for vegan, vegetarian, and healthy food—has integrated its guide into the Destination Assist feature on select 2020 and newer Toyota and Lexus models.
Destination Assist helps drivers by providing 24-hour access to a live agent. The agent is able to locate an address, business, or point of interest and provide directions through the vehicle’s navigation system.
U.S.-based Toyota and Lexus Destination Assist subscribers can now access HappyCow listings with the click of a button. So, how does it work? Simply mention keywords like “vegan” or “vegetarian” to activate the app. The user will then be connected with an agent and directed to plant-based options near them.
“It’s sort of a live experience where you don’t have to use your phone, you can actually just talk to your car, and then the navigation coordinates are sent to your navigator in your car, and then you’re on your way,” Ken Spector, HappyCow’s principal, told LIVEKINDLY.
Spector says HappyCow currently reaches about two million users per month. But with the new partnership, he says the service will reach two million new car drivers in the U.S. each year.
In a statement, Brian Kursar, Toyota Connected’s chief technology officer, said the company’s goal was to elevate the driving experience. “Being vegan, I know how important it is to find quality restaurants and grocers when I’m traveling with my family,” he said.
“HappyCow is a service I have personally used for years and we are pleased to be able to make this service available. Whether they are near home and looking for a new plant based restaurant or on a long distance road trip and searching for a quick vegan stop, subscribers can simply connect with a Destination Assist representative to have HappyCow recommendations sent to their navigation unit,” Kursar added.
And for those looking for vegan rides—both Toyota and Lexus offer synthetic leather or cloth interiors in their models.
With the new partnership, HappyCow also hopes to show just how accessible veganism is. And Spector says it’s a great way to encourage people to eat plant-based.
“Many people who I meet have the idea that it’s hard to eat vegan. HappyCow proves it’s easy anywhere you are as we list places in over 180 countries and 20,000 cities,” he explains. “So we want to make finding vegan food much easier. And we want to put the thoughts aside that people have that vegan food is difficult to find,” he adds.