Why the world is going vegan

It used to be that going vegan was met with ridicule or shock. Why? How? What about bacon?!

But now, the choice to go vegan is becoming steadily more respected. Yes, there’s still the sense of disbelief or lack of understanding, but increasingly, people are learning to love vegan food! From health benefits to environmental issues, to sheer celebrity trends, veganism has seen something of a rebranding. So much so that businesses need to start tailoring their services and goods towards veganism if they want to meet consumer demand.

And the demand is certainly there. Between 2016 and 2017, the sales of plant-based food in the UK soared by 1,500%!

The Vegan Society released some interesting figures surrounding veganism in the UK that support this rising trend:

  • 56% of adults in the UK practice vegan buying behaviours
  • 19% have cut down on buying meat and are checking cosmetics and toiletries for animal-testing
  • 13% actively choose meat-free or dairy-free meals when eating out
  • 51% are happy to see vegan food in shops and restaurants

People may not always be adopting a totally vegan diet, but are changing their eating habits to include more non-animal product foods (being a ‘flexitarian’, as it is known). Perhaps because of this, the mindset towards vegans has drastically improved, with 43% of people saying they respected vegans for their lifestyle.

But is there more to the trend than health and eco-awareness concerns? Looking at the results of 2018’s Veganuary, a movement that challenges people to sign up for a month of vegan eating, the top reason for people signing up was animal rights concerns (43%). This was followed by 39% of people who signed up for health reasons, and 10% who said it was for environmental reasons.

The Independent has suggested a slightly vainer reason. The newspaper noted that Google searches of the word ‘vegan’ has grown in line with searches for ‘Instagram’. In a world where we love to take photos of our meals and share them on social media, it’s not difficult to believe that Instagram has helped circulate numerous brightly-coloured vegan dishes to help improve its previously ill-held reputation of being nothing but leaves.

As Vegan Food & Living proves with 2018’s vegan food trends, there’s been a massive leap in the appeal of vegan dishes:

  • Veggie chips, such as parsnip chips and sweet potato chips, make for a healthier option than normal potato.
  • Edible flowers, to make your meal Instagram-worthy!
  • Vegan desserts, bringing back ice-cream and cakes in vegan-friendly ways. Ben and Jerry’s have released three delicious vegan-friendly ice creams: Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Chunky Monkey, and Peanut Butter and Cookies are all sure to be a hit with vegans and non-vegans alike! 
  • Vegan Chocolate, to enjoy instead of chocolate containing animal products.
  • Fermented foods, while they might not conjure the most delicious image to mind, are coming into food trends in a big way. Think colourful kimchi and nutty-flavoured tempeh.

Now, businesses need to take note of the surge and offer more in the ways of vegan options. A recent survey found that 91% of vegans are having a tough time finding to-go meal options. The market is certainly there, and restaurants and supermarkets are slowly picking up on the potential gains to be made by catering to veganism.

A vegan diet can be beneficial on a personal level too. A new study was brought to the public eye by The Guardian, outlining that the “five-a-day” notion for fruit and vegetable consumption is, sadly, not entirely accurate. In fact, the study from the Imperial College London advises 10-a-day! The now-recommended 800g of fruit and veg daily would help reduce heart disease, strokes and premature deaths. Picking up a few vegan meals throughout the week, or switching to a vegan diet entirely, would certainly help hit this healthy target.

Whether you’re thinking of going vegan or just swaying a little more ‘flexitarian’, you can help boost your healthy choice with self-grown veggies! Even a small garden can house a few home-grown herbs and fruits. You can grab some growbags and start cultivating your own supply of tomatoes for a home-made tomato sauce, or cucumbers for the freshest salad you’ll ever taste. While you’re out there, maybe take the chance to tidy up the garden a bit, give it some TLC, maybe dress it up with some garden bark chippings and new plants beyond just veggies. Plus, a vegan diet has loads of proteins you can grow too. Think beans and seeds, like sunflower seeds or soybeans.

Why not start adding a few vegan options into your diet and seeing what all the fuss is about? You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how far vegan cooking has come, and if nothing else, you’ll reap the many environmental and health benefits.

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