What is Veganism
Veganism is a way of living in which individuals attempt to exclude animal products from their daily lives. Be it, the clothing they wear, the food & drink they consume. Any other products for that matter; which could range from household cleaning products to makeup & personal hygiene products. Individuals who follow a vegan diet, refrain from consuming animal-based products or animal-derived by-products. While veganism is not at all new. It has been traced back to ancient Eastern Mediterranean and Indian Societies.
Veganism has gained popularity in the past decade. People who live a vegan lifestyle, omit all sorts of animal products from their life. Vegan diets exclude meat, dairy, eggs, honey, and any other animal-derived products. The choice of clothing, must not contain any animal material or have any by-products used in the manufacturing process. In addition, all products, whether they are cosmetics or skincare, omit animal ingredients. Some vegans abstain from purchasing or consuming products that have been tested on animals. They avoid places that use animals for entertainment.
Rise of veganism in the USA
New Statistics have shown that Around 3% of America’s total population is vegan today; which is a 300% increase in Americans who opted for the vegan lifestyle. In the last 15 years, there are about 9.6 million people switching to an exclusively vegan diet. In fact, the US accounts for approximately 30% of the global vegan community and 40% of the US consumers are adding vegan options to their daily diets. By 2025, the global vegan market will be valued at $24B with growth rates of +9.5% year on year. In 2019 the economists declared veganism lifestyle’s significance to the point they label 2019 as “the year of vegan“.
Why veganism gaining popularity?
An uptake in consumer desire to eat healthier and cleaner foods has definitely contributed to making the vegan diet more popular. While many consumers are concerned about the hormone and antibiotic use in meat production; others are equally disturbed about animal cruelty and the treatment of animals in today’s meat production process. Some studies seem to indicate that adopting a primarily plant-based diet will increase lifespan, but there must be a holistic approach to health and wellness to achieve longevity. Strong evidence has come from the 5 Blue Zones around the globe; where these cultures seem to have the secret to longevity.
With the global population on a steady rise and the expectation to hit 9 billion by 2050; the demand for beef and animal-based products will only increase. The demand will have to be met, but at a cost of more land, water, energy consumption, and an increase in wastage. According to the WWF, beef production utilizes more land than any other domesticated animal and crops combined. In addition, beef production requires huge amounts of water; the majority of which is used to grow feed for the cattle at a weight of approximately 29% of the total global freshwater usage. This, in combination with industrial pollution, soil degradation, and climate; these change (due to Greenhouse gas emission) has raised environmental concerns around beef agriculture.
Animal welfare is becoming increasingly concerning in animal production; from both economic and moral perspectives. As modern high-volume agriculture typically keeps cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys, and other animals in extremely crowded cages, stalls, and or sheds. These animals cannot take a step back or forth or in any direction, let alone graze outdoors. This has raised the major moral issue around animal cruelty; which has many consumers turn vegan. In recent years consumers have become a lot more aware of the negative industry practices and treatment of animals. A large part of documentaries and social media. This, in return, has discouraged the use of animal-based products, by-product,s, and ingredients; consumers are voting with their dollar for alternatives.
Some interesting facts:
Consumers usually associate Veganism with F&B brands, alternative meats, alternative milk (Oat, Almond, Hazelnut, etc,..); but today we have brands creating waves with vegan makeup, clothing, shoes (like Adidas’ Stan Smith), cleaning and household products and even tattoo parlors. To really understand the far-reaching impact of consumer demand for vegan products; look no further than the major F&B chains that have traditionally built their brands on meat-based menus. These same chains now offer a multitude of plant-based alternatives, like vegan burgers, fried vegan-chicken, vegan pizzas, and Ice cream. This is only the beginning; as we expect to see many brands join the vegan movement which is poised for the long-term.