By Ghanim al-Sulaiti
I’m back! First of all, I’d like to wish all readers a happy, healthy (and hopefully vegan) New Year. During my break over the New Year period, I was able to reflect on the year 2019 which was considered ‘The Year of the Vegan’ — and I’m pleased to say, it definitely was. This time last year, The Economist had predicted that veganism would be the most popular topic of the year, and added that it would be “the year veganism goes mainstream.” Forbes also published an article predicting that 2019 would be the year more people “embrace a plant-based lifestyle.”
Over the last twelve months it’s safe to say that the world has embraced veganism like we’ve never seen before. Multi-national corporations and businesses were in a desperate race to launch vegan products in a bid to tap into the growing vegan demand. The word ‘vegan’ was made mainstream by high profile figures, celebrities, heads of states, presidents — even members of the royal family of countries like Great Britain.
Now as we enter a new decade, and an era of growing environmental and health awareness, introducing vegan alternatives is being considered as a must for food retailers to attract increasingly mindful, ethical consumers into buying their products. Last summer during a trial of their vegan ‘Imposter’ burger, fast-food giant KFC sold one burger a minute during the first days following the launch. Also keen to cash in on the meat-free trend, McDonald’s will introduce a ‘Veggie Dippers’ meal this month in a bid to keep fast-food lovers who have switched to being vegan.
A desire to consume ethically sourced produce and foods has been a major factor among people looking to change their dietary lifestyle, and over the last twelve months we as members of the worldwide vegan community were frequently shining the light on how mass consumption of meat is putting a strain on the environment, accelerating the harmful effects of climate change, and killing animals. Getting into the ‘animal-free’ market has proven to be a profitable move for so many companies — and already The Times has reported that 3.6 million fewer animals were eaten in the first six months of 2019.
Dairy-free milk is now the choice drink for 25% of French citizens, and a report by Rethinking Food and Agriculture, 2020-2030 predicting that the dairy and beef industries will ‘totally collapse’ by 2030.
This month is ‘Veganuary’ — the month where a huge number of people are eating vegan, some for the first time in their lives, and each for various reasons. Some consider it a detox by only consuming healthy, organic, plant-based foods. Others want to experiment if the Vegan way of life could be for them. If just 350,000 people worldwide who were not vegan before, go vegan for January 2020…it will save the carbon dioxide equivalent of 450,000 flights and more than one million animals.
These new figures demonstrate the huge impact that trying vegan for just 31 days has — and the good news is, 2020 is already setting new records for our vegan world. Less than one week in, Veganuary 2020 is by far the biggest and most widespread yet.
If your New Year’s resolutions were not specifically around veganism, but were to try something new, or do your ‘bit’ for the planet — I invite you to join in on Veganuary, it’s not too late, and feel free to reach out to me on Instagram to let me know how it’s going for you, your questions and updates.
With the right vegan food choices, you can feel the best you have felt in a very long time!
Happy New Year.
The author is an expert in vegan wellbeing and health. Instagram handle: @Ghanim92
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