Why is veganism growing in 2020?
As the lockdown began in March, people all over the world got hooked onto Netflix and Youtube to make the stay at home routine bearable.
The internet got flooded with listicles and blogs of how to live a healthy quarantine life, and then slowly, a lot of writers began to lobby about how the Covid-19 is a boon in disguise to adopt a vegan and cruelty-free lifestyle which will make the planet and our health sustainable.
Veganism became a trending thing in the digital media when the Netflix documentary, The Game Changers got its release which spoke about the alternatives to a meat-eating protein diet.
Toppled with this, activists started to speak about climate change and digital content being more personalized with celebrity food habits, the global audience got a peek a boo to the idea of sustainable living through veganism.
In the early -1980s to 1990s, advertisements both in India and the USA used marketing tactics to promote meat-eating and dairy consumption as a part of the healthy lifestyle for the common middle-class men and women.
Veganism was labeled as the “whims of the elites” and non-affordable to the larger masses.
The only veganism was acceptable in the domain of clothing and footwear. Not wearing fur or leather items was the only vegan thing one could adopt.
In India, a large part of the population did not depend on heavy meat-eating as the killing of animals was considered a sin amongst Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists.
Vegetarian food was consumed heavily in such communities, while the tribals preferred vegan food.
But slowly with the rise of brands such as Amul and promoting ads such as “Roz Khao Ande”, promoted heavy dairy consumption and animal-based protein.
There was no way veganism could enter the Indian market.
The same was in the USA, sportsmen promoted meat-eating for better performance in the field. Meat-eating became associated with manliness.
In the early to mid-2000s, researchers came across instances of zoonotic diseases that passed due to the consumption of meat.
The outbreak of swine flu was one of the reasons that poultry consumption got reduced in Asia. This was also the time when PETA came on the rise to protect animal rights.
Soon celebrities all over the world campaigned for veganism to launch cruelty-free cosmetics and cultural practices. With the rise of social media, the lives of the public figures accessible to the common public.
Social media gave the audience the voice to the campaign against causes. The dog-eating festival in China and the articles published by celebrities showcasing how most people are lactose intolerant; all of these slowly opened the window to the revival of veganism.
Veganism rebuked as a classist choice of life was suddenly the talk of the town. People considered it vegan food to be bland and have no taste. However, in 2015 the hospitality and the cosmetic industry created revolutionary innovations in launching vegan products.
Brands such as Body Shop targeted the millennial, new-income independent women to have healthier skin free of allergic reactions if they switched to vegan cosmetics.
Restaurants and chefs started to launch cafes and menus to promote fresh and organic recipes. By 2018, there was a vegan alternative to everything- dairy-free desserts and beverages, plant-based steak, exotic vegetable gravies.
Vegan food was great for the taste-buds and had moved beyond the just tofu and soya.
But, it is not just experimentation that led to the immense growth of veganism. It was driven by economy, culture, and social nudges to make it gain immense popularity.
The first and the foremost reason to nudge any change, be it veganism, is always money. Brands that started vegan food, cosmetic, and lifestyle products, widened their reach to the middle-class population.
With millennials having new jobs and high earning potential, vegan brands targeted this section of the population who could appreciate and afford the products.
As veganism started to use the purchasing power of the professional youths, its spread was metastasized by the digital boom and the rise of the influencer market.
The digital content space even today has sections of what celebrities eat in a day and what do they wear. Most strongly advocated a vegan lifestyle.
Influencers and social media activists slowly promoted campaigns to target youths that how a vegan lifestyle would contribute to the well-being of the planet.
Organic lifestyle became a trending thing, and in India with celebrities and spiritual leaders promoting health consciousness and fitness, veganism got its steady graph in South Asia.
The digital media also became a vigilante for causes. Celebrities and common audiences exposed the cruel practices of companies towards animals.
Food chains such as McDonald’s received a heavy blow in revenue when celebrities exposed how the brand breeds and treats their chicken.
After the digital influences, health researchers also highlighted how meat-eating could increase the chances of cancer by 20 percent.
The adulteration and chemicals used in the meat and dairy industry emit carcinogen and leads to severe cardiac problems amongst individuals. On the flip-side, vegan and plant-based food has a lot of varieties to offer in your daily meal plan and the adoption of veganism reduces the chances of heart failures and diabetes.
With the medical expenses rising and the young generation being fitness conscious, the veganism ideology appealed to the masses globally.
Another reason for the rapid growth of veganism was due to its effects on the sexual and reproductive health of men and women. Meat-based protein was considered good for women’s reproductive health and was considered manly prowess.
However, research proved that vegan food consumption increases the sexual stamina of men and their ability to achieve frequent erections. The Netflix documentary, “The Game Changers” testifies the same and debunks the theory of meat is good for manhood.
Women also have been seeing the brunt of meat-eating. Gynecologists have suggested that meat-eating, especially processed meat-eating, leads to increased chances of breast cancer, and how dairy consumption increases bloating period cramps and pelvic discomfort during the menstrual cycle.
Almost 55% percent of women suffer from PCOD and fertility issues, but with conversion to veganism in their diets, the PCOD level has reduced, with lowering instances of fertility issues and ovarian cancer.
Veganism improves the sexual and reproductive health of both men and women, and slowly it has gained popularity amongst young married couples.
The last and the most important reason that has made the concept of veganism popular in 2020 is the effort of being environmentally conscious of our habits. The UN has declared that we have 12 years to reverse climate change.
Environmental activists and researchers have proven the connection between how veganism could protect the environment and the remaining natural resources.
Case studies have proven that leather and tanning factories contribute largely to the carbon footprint and acidification of land and water. With veganism, a lot of the Earth’s natural resources could be conserved.
2020 has taught us that apparently consuming certain animal meat, a global pandemic would occur, but more than that it is easy teaching us why we need to adopt veganism to protect our health and the planet.
With creativity and experimentation, veganism has reached a height of acceptance and with the promotion of organic living with organic products, veganism is trying to bring back compassion which humans have lost for other living creatures. Veganism promotes a compassionate, simple, healthy way of living, and also a new market opportunity, hence its growth is evident on a local and global scale.