Vegans have long been associated with a way of life completely separate to the ‘norm’. The word ‘hippy’ is often bandied about in talks of veganism alongside ‘alfafa sprouts’ and ‘patchouli’. Those who are vegan know that this image is far from the truth for many vegans. Often with average jobs, eating burgers and watching TOWIE, vegans walk amongst the crowd unnoticed until you ask them if they want milk in their tea. But is society becoming more accepting of veganism?
Last year Sainsbury’s made the announcement that their vegan cheese range, sometimes known as Gary, outperformed expectations by a whopping 300 percent! Since then they’ve added to their ‘FreeFrom’ range even offering vegan ready meal options such as mac and cheese and lasagne.
Similarly, earlier this year, Zizzi reported that the sale of their plant-based products had increased 150 percent since it started offering a separate vegan menu. The Italian restaurant chain was the first chain in the UK to offer vegan cheese on their pizzas instead of just letting vegans go cheeseless.
Pret A Manger has experienced unexpected success in their veggie ranges. After the launch of their veggie store in London last year, they were expecting sales to decrease. However, their sales increased hugely and as a result they kept the store open and have opened another veggie Pret.
All this is great news for those advocating for a plant-based diet, and suggests that society is starting to accept veganism as a dietary choice of the masses. Although veganism has its roots in animal activism, it certainly isn’t the only benefit of opting for a plant-based meal. The link between a whole food plant based meals and ‘clean eating’ has encouraged the trend in veganism. Documentaries such as What The Health have also prompted the public to draw links between good health and a plant-based diet.
All these steps forward don’t come without repercussions. As the milk industry declines, the public’s obsession with cheese seems to grow. Social media is awash with with the cheesiest pasta, or the cheesiest burger. There is even some evidence to suggest that it’s possible for people to be addicted to the stuff.
Aside from a push towards cheese, and the existence anti-vegan memes, it seems that society might be starting to accept veganism as a genuine diet and lifestyle choice. There may be some way to go before non-vegans consider veganism ‘normal’ but the number of plant-based choices available, and how popular they are, show a definite shift in public opinion.