Although the idea of ‘veganism’ originated in the 1940s, there was not a valid definition confirmed until the late 1970’s when ‘The Vegan Society’ became a registered charity. So, what is the definition of being a vegan? ‘The Vegan Society’ states “A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals”.
Across Britain, people are spending more money on vegan products, and plant-based diets are constantly trending online; with more than 3.5 million Brits now identifying as vegan and more than 60 million #vegan hashtags being posted to Instagram, but what we want to know is, why has veganism grown so quickly over the past few years?
From what was once a small group of committed vegans, this lifestyle trend has grown in popularity and has undeniably changed the face of the eating out world in recent years. The internet has played a big part in the rise of veganism, in particular, social media. On social media we are just one click away from seeing an animal being mistreated. We are now able to self-publish online content which has vastly changed the cultural landscape and fuelled the vegan movement. On top of this, using the internet we can easily find vegan recipes, stores, restaurants (and reviews) so it’s no wonder that this trend is constantly growing. The internet also allows small businesses to flourish online as they can easily find their niche target market.
Celebrities also hugely influence the ever-growing vegan trend with the likes of Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Ellen DeGeneres avoiding eating and using animal products. In today’s society it is verging on impossible to escape celebrity culture and with young women driving the growth of veganism it is no surprise that celebrities are prompting others to adopt a vegan lifestyle.
With big supermarkets constantly striving to stay on-trend, it’s hardly surprising that veganism is on the up. Leading supermarkets have caught on to the demand and are stocking up on vegan options. Waitrose has launched dedicated vegan sections in more than 130 stores after increasing its vegan range by 60%. On top of this, Iceland reported that sales of its plant-based food have risen by over 10% over last year. Add to this the wide range of vegan options on menus when eating out and vegan food is now widely available to us all – and because it’s so easy to purchase, why wouldn’t we try it?
Becoming vegan comes with its benefits. The trend is thought to benefit health, weight management, animal welfare, environmental concerns and these are all big motivators to go vegan. Taking all these factors into consideration, it is clear to see why the vegan trend is getting bigger and bigger and won’t be dying down any time soon. But will I be going vegan and forsaking my steak and chips…mmm…possibly not.