‘Going vegan makes you weak’, ‘Veganism is expensive and for the rich’, ‘Veganism is hard’. Maybe. But considering the number of people opting for a vegan diet, these phrases seem like myths. Various studies and statistics show that vegan is now the new cool. Not only does benefit humans, but it’s also great for the environment and saves a bunch of animal lives as well.
Here are 5 studies which prove that veganism is cool, green and animal-friendly.
As per a study conducted by PETA, even if a single person changed their diet to vegan, it could save 200 animals per year. While millions of animals are slaughtered for meat, even more, are tortured and drugged for dairy and other food products. So even though an omelet and a glass of milk are considered vegetarian, it still leads to the torture and killing of animals. Naturally, cows produce milk only for one reason – to feed their calves. But when they are treated as milk-producing machines, female cows are forcefully inseminated to give birth in short intervals so that they can produce more milk. And once the calves are born, they are separated from their mothers so that they don’t drink any of the milk that needs to be packaged and sold. While cows live up to 20 years in nature, due to the bad conditions on factory farms, they become unproductive within 4-5 years, after which they are slaughtered.
That’s the story behind milk, what about eggs? Well, naturally a hen can lay only 10-15 eggs per year. But, to meet industry demands, hens are intensively bred and forced to produce neatly 250-300 eggs per year. As a result, hens don’t live for more than 2 years (in contrast to their natural lifespan 8-15 years).
The global meat alternative market and non-dairy markets are predicted to reach billions by 2020. Increasingly people around the world are shifting to vegan diets. Well, i’m going to let the numbers say it all – 70% of the world’s population is reducing its meat consumption, there is a 600% rise in the number vegans in the U.S. and 350% in the UK. This demand has given a huge push to the overall vegan industry. The global markets for alternatives like veggies, almond milk, plant-based food, tofu etc. is on an upward boost. For example, the almond milk market has increased by 250% in the last 5 years. As per a study by Mintel, while the demand for plant-based milk and non-dairy products has increased, there has been a 5% decline in the sales of cow’s milk, which is predicted to fall further by 11% by 2020. The largest dairy suppliers around the world are experiencing income declines as well. The net income of Dean Foods, the largest supplier of milk in the US, fell from $14,5 million to $1.4 million and there was a 22% drop of milk sales by the Murray Goulburn, Australia’s largest dairy products supplier.
From Starbucks to Dominoes, food chains and restaurants are revamping their menus to make room for vegan dishes. In India, although the vegan trend is slowly seeping in, a number of cafes and restaurants have opened their doors to vegan options. For example, ‘Back to Basic’ in Pune is going 100% vegan, while ‘Café Basilico’ in Mumbai and Rose Café in Delhi have vegan options and ‘VeggyTable’ in Chennai has come up with 14 mock types of meat alternatives. Further, many startups are sprouting around this concept. For instance, a startup called Wegan Food received investment from a foreign company to launch dairy-free cheese and partnering with restaurants and food tech companies to offer a vegan menu.
Meanwhile, Australia has gone a step ahead when it comes to veganism. Seeing the rise in demand for vegan options, the Dominoes CEO launched vegan options – vegan cheese, pizza sauces and base. Further, more pubs in Australia are going 100% vegan – food and drinks as well. The Red Lion went completely vegan – offering beer, wine, burgers, pizza – all animal cruelty-free. Another vegan hub called Gigi Pizzeria went completely vegan in 2015. If you love burgers and animals, Soul Burger has revamped their menu to being 100% plant-based, with mock cheese, chicken and fish.
Growing up in a connected world, health and animals are the top 3 reasons why millennials around the world – particularly in the U.K., U.S. and Germany – are becoming vegan. Not just that, they are the ones who are driving the change. For instance, in the U.K. at least 42% of the vegans are millennials. Increased access to the internet, its proliferation on social media and more celebrities going vegan are the few factors that have inspired more youth to go vegan. They have more access to a plethora of information related to health implications, behind the scenes in the farm factories and animal rights. As per a study by Mintel, the age demographic of meat alternatives sales is largely between 18-24 years of age.
The internet has played a vital role in creating awareness about the harsh realities in the dairy farming industry. At least 90% of people googled the term ‘vegan’ in 2016. From all the health-related trends and searches like the 5:2 diet, paleo, sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan topped searches in the U.S., U.K., Australia etc. In another study by Quartz, vegan has become even more popular then vegetarian, with a striking rise from the year 2004-2018.