The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for April

April ended with a bang. Vegan burgers are finally going mainstream thanks to Burger King’s new meatless Whopper, which did “exceedingly well,” according to the company. That’s not all for veggie burgers — soon, those White Castle Impossible Sliders might come with a dairy-free cheese option.

Across the pond, the UK’s leading supermarket is adding vegan protein to the meat aisles and Australians are going vegetarian in record numbers.

Former “American Idol” host Simon Cowell, who turns 60 this year, decided that meat, dairy, eggs, and fish are off his plate — and he’s already celebrating the health benefits of his new vegan lifestyle. On Earth Day, Miley Cyrus, Snoop Dogg, Justin Bieber, and a host of other A-list celebs gathered together for a climate-focused song. And blues legend Willie Nelson opened his heart and his home to horses he saved from slaughter. Spring is finally here and change is in the air — here are the top 11 vegan news stories from April.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for April

1. Burger King’s Whopper Goes Vegan

Impossible Whoppers are coming to Burger King locations nationwide

Burger King and Impossible Foods announced on April 1 that select locations in St. Louis, Missouri, were testing Whoppers featuring vegan Impossible Burger patties. While it seemed like an April Fool’s prank, it turned out to be completely true.

Later that month, the Home of the Whopper announced that the test went “exceedingly well.” So well, in fact, that Burger King plans on rolling the vegan-friendly Whoppers out nationwide by the end of the year with plans to come to Canada as well. The vegan burger is finally going mainstream.

Check it out here.

2. White Castle Is Testing Vegan Cheese

White Castle is working on vegan cheese

Impossible Sliders debuted at White Castle, America’s first fast-food chain, last summer and were met with overwhelmingly positive feedback and a collaboration with the Wu Tang Clan.

According to the Q&A section of the website, White Castle is working on “the perfect vegan cheese” to complement its meatless sliders. There’s currently no word on what it will be made from, but it’ll be a welcome addition to the menu.

Check it out here.

3. Simon Cowell Goes Vegan

Simon Cowell adopted a plant-based diet for his 60th birthday | image/Getty

Former “American Idol” host and forever television icon Simon Cowell announced this month that he’s going vegan ahead of his 60th birthday in October.

“A friend of mine, who is a doctor, recommended speaking to an expert, and I did it on a whim,” Cowell explained in a recent interview with the Sun. “…Within 24 hours I changed my diet and I’ve not looked back since. You feel better, you look better. I cut out a lot of the stuff I shouldn’t have been eating and that was primarily meat, dairy, wheat, sugar – those were the four main things.”

While the star still eats fish, he added that he’s cutting that out of his diet as well. He’s swapped milk in his morning coffee for dairy-free almond milk and notes that he’s already feeling the health benefits of his new lifestyle.

“I have more energy and focus and it wasn’t difficult. I don’t like to use the word diet because that’s the reason I never went on a diet before — the word diet makes me miserable,” he said.

Check it out here.


4. Leonardo DiCaprio Honors Jane Goodall

Academy Award-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio is Jane Goodall’s biggest fan

Renowned conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall made TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2019 for her positive impact on the planet. Leonardo DiCaprio, a longtime friend and admirer of Goodall, honored her with a heartfelt blurb, calling her saying during time spent with her, he felt he was in the “presence of one of the most impactful and important leaders on the planet.”

DiCaprio and Goodall both have a shared passion for the planet and animals, which they have worked together in the form of a clothing line promoting ape conservation. “Even now, at the young age of 85, Jane spends nearly every day spreading optimism and raising awareness worldwide; hers is a powerful message to protect the inherent rights of every living creature, to provide hope for future generations and to sound an urgent call against the greatest environmental threat of all—climate change,” DiCaprio wrote.

Check it out here.

5. More Than 2.5 Million Australians Are Meat-Free

Australians are going vegetarian for the animals

Just over 12 percent of the Australian population — or about 2.5 million individuals — say they are following a meat-free diet. According to independent research firm Roy Morgan, which conducted the study, the number of Australians eschewing meat is an increase from the reported 2.2 million vegetarians in 2014.

“For many protesters a key part of securing better treatment of animals is to practice and promote embracing vegetarianism – and the message is getting through to an increasing number of Australians,” Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said in a statement about the changing eating habits of the meat-heavy nation. The research follows a protest in Melbourne that gained mainstream media attention, where activists held signs encouraging people to watch the 2018 documentary “Dominion.” The film explores animal exploitation in Australia.

Check it out here.

6. Miley Cyrus, Snoop Dogg, and Other Celebs Sing for Climate Change

Vegan pop star Miley Cyrus collaborated with other A-listers for a climate-focused tune

A gaggle of celebrities including vegan pop star Miley Cyrus, rapper Snoop Dogg, Sia, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and Lil Dicky gathered together to release a climate change-focused song on Earth Day. Titled “Earth,” even celeb represented a different plant or animal while singing about the importance of acting to protect the planet from global warming.

“Guys, everyone look into whatever the f*ck Leonardo DiCaprio is always pushing,” Lil Dicky said. “‘Cause I feel like that guy knows more about the earth and how we’re f*cking it up than anybody.”

Check it out here.

7. Banana Leaves Replace Plastic Wrap in Thailand

One Thai grocery store is replacing plastic wrap with banana leaves

A supermarket in Thailand is reducing its pollution by using banana leaves instead of plastic wrap. Rimping supermarket in Chiang Mai gained widespread media attention for its innovative and sustainable approach to the plastic problem. The supermarket uses the biodegradable, pesticide-free leaves to wrap produce. The leaves are large, thick, and malleable, making them an efficient replacement for plastic wrap.

Check it out here.

8. IKEA Grows Greens in Shipping Containers

IKEA Sweden is growing its own produce

Two IKEA stores in Sweden are now growing greens in hydroponic farms contained in what looks like regular shipping containers. The high-tech farms are capable of growing 18 kilos of produce per day and 5 tons annually.

“Since the production of food accounts for a large proportion of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, we need to find new solutions for growing food in a more sustainable way. This trial growing lettuce in containers is a part of this,” said Catarina Englund, global sustainability manager at Ingka Group, the holding company that controls the majority of IKEA stores.

While the greens are currently served only in staff canteens, but the end goal is to be able to offer it in on-site restaurants as well. Growing its own greens is in line with IKEA’s overall mission of sustainability — the “shipping container” farms reduces water and land use and cuts back on carbon emissions from transportation. The initiative is a colloboration between IKEA and Swedish circular farming company Bonbio.

Check it out here.

9. Tesco Adds Vegan Food to the Meat Aisle

Tesco is stocking vegan meat alongside the real thing

The UK’s largest supermarket chain, Tesco, made the move to introduce vegan food in its meat aisles. According to the company, it has to do with changing consumer eating habits.

“[F]lexitarians, who eat both meat and plant-based alternatives, will be able to find both next to each other in a new fixture in the meat aisle at larger Tesco stores,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

The supermarket chain’s meat aisle is now stocking vegan burgers and sausages from brands like Vivera, Heck, and The Vegetarian Butcher.

Check it out here.

10. Al Gore Says Vegan Burgers Can Reverse Climate Change

Al Gore believes vegan burgers spell hope for the future of the planet

Former vice president and environmental advocate Al Gore applauded vegan burgers — like the new Burger King Impossible Whopper — for having a positive impact on the planet. During the Climate Reality lunch event earlier this year, Gore called plant-based burgers a “cause for some hope.”

A vegan since 2014, Gore’s passion for protecting the planet against climate change is well-known, particularly due to his 2006 film, “An Inconvenient Truth”.

Check it out here.

11. Willie Nelson Rescues 70 Horses From Slaughter

Willie Nelson saved 70 horses from slaughter

Legendary singer-songwriter Willie Nelson saved the lives of 70 horses destined for slaughter.

“My horses are probably the luckiest horses in the world. They get hand-fed twice a day, and they were just ready to go to slaughter, probably the last thing they remembered, so they’re happy horses,” the 85-year-old musician explained. The horses now roam free on his Texas ranch.

Check it out here.