How Veganism is taking over global lifestyles

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The world is changing drastically in many ways, from new diet trends to genetically engineered nutrients known as metagenics. These changes are impacting on the eating habits of people the world over. As American TV personality Bethenny Frankel said, “Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.”

The millennials, with an abiding passion for sustainable nutrition, are at the forefront of dictating what makes for healthy eating. Thus, millennial perspective and millennial food choices have, to a large extent, influenced the significant changes in people’s eating habits today.

From countries as large as China to entire companies like Google, from athletes to celebrities, they are all supporting and encouraging the current trend of eating more plant-based food. US football star, Tom Brady, who eats mostly plant-based food, said, “Eating meals like these is what has helped me stay at the top of my game.” Meanwhile, New York-based restaurant consulting company, Baum+Whiteman, forecast that the food trend for 2018 was going to be plant-based, which was also going to be the “new organic.”  Nestle, among the world’s largest food makers, believes vegetarian “is here to stay and amplify.”

As vegans go in for plant-based products, they are rejecting gluten and dairy products as well. Some vegans are “lifestyle vegans” who will not consume anything that comes from an “animal. However, other vegans are less rigid and will consume products that are cruelty-free, like honey.      

Google Trends search data indicate veganism is increasing globally at an accelerated pace, while GlobalData research shows an “explosion” of veganism. For instance, the number of vegans in the US has increased 500% since 2014, while UK has 350% more vegans now than a decade ago. Australia, contrary to tradition, had a 92% increase in vegan food launches between 2014 and 2016, and a new Canadian government Food Guide favors plant-based food.

Keen consumer awareness of the adverse health impact of animal products, is gradually spreading across the world. As veganism is propelled with vigor, impetus is generated by the compassion and desire for sustainability of Millennials. In the UK, the veganism lifestyle is promoted by young people focused on ethical and compassionate choices. It has virtually become a national phenomenon, with vegan food festivals and lucrative businesses.

Around 42% of the over 542,000 vegans in UK, are between the ages of 15 and 34, compared to only 14% who are over 65 years. Vegan magazine publisher, Keith Coomber, said, “The public perception of veganism is changing fast. It’s no longer an extreme lifestyle, it’s easy and accessible – you can walk into any supermarket and be greeted by a huge range of dairy-free milks and many more other vegan-friendly products.

Once fledgling plant-based food businesses are booming in the US as well. Research showed that plant-based food sales increased by 8.1% last year with revenue over $3.1 billion. The global market research company, Mintel found that plant-based milk sales grew 3.1%, but cow milk sales fell by 5%, and will likely decline another 11% through 2020. Furthermore, the vegan cheese market is expected to be worth a little less than $4 billion by 2024.

Thus, veganism which began as a fringe movement, has suddenly gone mainstream. As Kip Anderson, Co-Director of the documentary Cowspiracy, said, “Whereas before, veganism may have been viewed like you were giving up something, now it’s been reframed as what you gain.”

The influence of veganism has spread to non-food areas too. For instance, vegan fashion is a major trend in 2018. Leather alternatives have been created from pineapple waste, apple peels, mushrooms, kombucha and wine, while  vegan silk is creating sustainable fashion trends. The motor vehicle industry has also joined the vegan movement, exploring leather alternatives for seats.

As veganism marches into the future with Millennials and Gen Z, “The time is always right to do what’s right,” as Martin Luther King Jr, said.

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