This is the year we’ve all been waiting for – vegans, vegetarians and mostly, all the innocent, sentient animals that are slaughtered daily to feed “the masses”.
On the eve of 2019, respected US publisher, The Economist published a news-worthy article outlining all the totally legit reasons why 2019 will indeed be “The Year of the Vegan”.
Reasons range from the rapidly rising number of vegans (currently a quarter of 25-34-year-old Americans identify as vegan or vegetarian) to the growth in vegan food choices. Heck, even mainstream fast food outlets, such as McDonald’s and Burger King have started selling Vegan burgers. Sales of vegan foods in America in the past year to June 2018, rose 10 times faster than total food sales as a whole.
Vegan meals are now being served in the school districts of Los Angeles and many huge food firms are creating their own vegan lines and/or buying start-ups. It’s a compelling position and for anyone who’s been following this trend, it’s not entirely surprising. But guess what? It’s no longer a “trend”. It’s an actual way of life.
This time last year, an article published by media powerhouse, the BBC, spoke of the rise of veganism and how, from its humble beginnings when the name was coined in 1944, it has grown into a fully-fledged movement whose time has truly come, abetted by the growth and access of social media.
Then, there was an article in April this year from The Guardian with a bold headline “The Unstoppable rise of Veganism: how a fringe movement went mainstream.” And since the release of Earthlings in 2005, there’s been a steady stream of documentaries advocating a vegan lifestyle, including Forks Over Knives, Veducated, Live and Let Live, Planeat, Cowspiracy and the most recent, (streaming on Netflix), What the Health with Leonardo DiCaprio as Executive Producer.
While it’s hard to pinpoint global numbers, a good indication of the rapid growth is the research commissioned in 2016 by The Vegan Society, which suggested that just over half a million people (or 1% of the population aged 15 and over) in England were vegan. This is up from 150,000 people just ten years earlier. According to Statista, in the last five years, vegan-labelled food products have experienced steady growth globally, with China, the United Arab Emirates and Australia forecast to be the fastest growing markets for vegan products between 2015 and 2020.
With the start of the new year, comes Veganuary – the perfect opportunity for anyone who’s vegan-curious to sign up and give vegan living a try for just one month. In 2014, its inaugural year, 3,300 people signed up. Fast forward to 2018 and the campaign had grown to 168,500 registered participants from 165 countries! The power of this campaign extends beyond media coverage and growing awareness to its ability to foster change – 62% of Veganuary 2018 participants said they intend to stay vegan!
While veganism has been cited as a trend, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest this shift is in fact a sustained and growing movement – as we have already stated, a legit and acceptable lifestyle choice.
As people become more aware of the impact their food choices have on animals, the environment and their own health, they’re making different choices. And finally, big business is catching on. From supermarket “home brand” vegan products to mock meats sitting in the meat section, it’s becoming increasingly easier for vegans to find vegan cheese, mayo and everything in between. Change is coming and it’s coming fast. It’s an exciting time to be vegan and remember – you are part of this revolution!
2019. We’re ready for you and your kindness!