Vegan shift during virus

Health Beauty | Heather Moore 17 Nov 2020

November is world Vegan Month - or, as I like to call it, "Vegan World Month." More and more people around the globe have been buying vegan foods ever since the pandemic began.

Chef's Pencil, a food-focused media outlet, recently analyzed the number of vegan search terms made around the world and concluded that vegan living is now "twice as popular as it was just five years ago" and that it "doesn't show any signs of slowing down."

While the surge in vegan popularity is largely because of Covid-19 - vegan foods have never caused a pandemic, after all - people are also becoming increasingly concerned about animal rights and the environment.

But regardless of the reasons, the shift toward vegan living is worth celebrating.

In a vegan world, there will be fewer animal-borne diseases, and fewer people will be afflicted with heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other diet-related illnesses. Greenhouse gases will be dramatically reduced, animal waste won't taint our waterways and our resources won't be squandered on animal agriculture.

Billions of animals will be spared intense pain and suffering, and factory farmers and slaughterhouse workers can find safe and humane work in the ever-growing vegan food movement.

We don't live in a vegan world yet, but vegan living is taking hold around the globe - from Australia to the United Kingdom.

New vegans are sprouting up in the United States too: there's been a 300 percent increase in the past 15 years.

That's 9.7 million American vegans, according to Chef's Pencil.

A recent OnePoll survey of 28,000 people in 30 countries indicates that many people have been eating more vegan foods during the pandemic.

Most of the survey participants who've made changes say that they did so because they had more time to research healthier eating habits. Others indicated that it was because of the high cost of animal-based foods or because they didn't "trust" meat after the pandemic.

Perhaps that's why sales of tofu skyrocketed after Covid-19 hit the United States.

Data from Nielsen, which tracks more than 900,000 stores in 100 countries, show that tofu sales were 40 percent higher in the first half of 2020 than they were in the previous year. Sales of the versatile soy food soared in the UK as well, up by 87 percent in the 12 weeks leading up to June.

Even before the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic, shoppers were stocking up on dairy-free milks.

Nielsen reported that oat milk sales rose by 305 percent in the week ending February 22, as consumers likely realized that perishable foods like cow's milk might become harder to find.

We have a long way to go before we can all break into a chorus of "it's a vegan world after all." But we're moving in the right direction.

So, this November, whether you want to call it World Vegan Month or Vegan World Month, tell everyone you know that it's a good time to go vegan - for animals, for our health, and for the planet.

Peta (TNS)

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