From headline-grabbing investments in plant-based companies to unprecedented requests for meat-free fare, there’s no question that this year was the tipping point for veganism.
Here are 11 highlights proving that veganism has gone mainstream and there’s no going back!
1. America’s largest meat producer invested in a vegan company—twice.
In October, Tyson Foods announced it had invested an undisclosed amount for a 5 percent stake in Beyond Meat. More recently, the country’s largest meat producer announced it had participated in the vegan company’s latest round of funding.
Tyson CEO Tom Hayes told Fox Business, “Plant-based protein is growing almost, at this point, a little faster than animal-based, so I think the migration may continue in that direction.”
2. Cargill invested in clean meat.
In August, Cargill, the third-largest meat processor in the United States, invested in the clean meat company Memphis Meats. The company is known for creating real beef burgers made without cows and the world’s first chicken and duck meat made without animal slaughter.
3. Walmart asked suppliers to make more vegan food.
In an unprecedented move, Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, urged its suppliers to meet the growing demand for plant-based foods.
In the memo to suppliers, the company wrote, “Even if your target market isn’t vegans or vegetarians, you may still have plant-based foods in your assortment that could meet the needs of these consumers.” The company also urged suppliers to utilize new marketing strategies to reach consumers searching for vegan foods.
4. Elmhurst Dairy switched to plant-based milk.
Elmhurst Dairy, one of the largest dairy manufacturers on the East Coast, closed down after 90 years and reopened as a plant-based milk company. The nut-based milks are available in four varieties: almond, hazelnut, cashew, and walnut.
5. A report found veganism in America had grown by 600 percent since 2014.
According to a report by research firm Global Data, 6 percent of the U.S. population now identifies as vegan, a 600 percent increase from 2014. “Go meat-free” and “ethical eating” were among six key trends explored in the report.
6. Campbell’s joined the Plant Based Foods Association.
In October, the Campbell Soup Company decided to leave the Grocery Manufacturers Association and join the Plant Based Foods Association, which works to bring together like-minded companies and promote their vegan products.
In the company’s statement, Campbell Fresh president Ed Carolan said:
We are committed to providing our consumers with food choices that meet their nutrition, well-being, and lifestyle needs. Working together with the Plant Based Foods Association, we can advance our shared goal of bringing more plant-based foods to consumers.
7. Plant-based foods topped $3.1 billion in sales.
A study commissioned by the Plant Based Foods Association and The Good Food Institute revealed that the plant-based foods market had topped $3.1 billion in sales.
Collected by the market research company Nielsen, the data included sales information from mass merchandisers and grocery, drug, club, dollar, and military stores. The results showed an overall growth in plant-based foods of 8.1 percent from last year.
8. The number of vegan products in Australia grew by 92 percent.
In January, the market research company Mintel reported that the number of vegan products in Australia had increased by 92 percent since 2014.
9. McDonald’s added the McVegan to its menu in Finland and Sweden.
In October, McDonald’s announced it was testing out the McVegan burger in Finland. Within just two months, the fast-food giant decided not only to add the item to the menu permanently but also to offer it in Sweden!
10. A poll found 47 percent of Americans want to shut down slaughterhouses.
The nonprofit think tank Sentience Institute in collaboration with Ipsos Group recently conducted a poll that questioned more than 1,000 U.S. adults and found that 47 percent of those questioned supported a ban on slaughterhouses. Additionally, 49 percent agreed with the statement “I support a ban on the factory farming of animals.”
11. The vegan documentary What the Health was nominated for an NAACP award.
Earlier this year, What the Health, a documentary that promotes plant-based eating and explores the plethora of public health threats posed by our Western meat-heavy diets, shook the world. The documentary was recently nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the “Outstanding Documentary” category.
Soon after the film was available on Netflix it went viral, and many viewers, particularly people of color, switched to a plant-based diet. Everyone from R&B singer Ne-Yo and a quarter of the Tennessee Titans to NBA players Kyrie Irving, JaVale McGee, and Damian Lillard decided to ditch animal products.
As vegan foods become more accessible, it’s never been easier to ditch animal products. Join the growing number of people taking a stand for animals, the environment, and their own health by transitioning to a plant-based diet.