Vegan meat is taking the meat industry by storm. If you’re wondering what it is, it is simply plant-based meat that is made to look and taste like the real thing. It looks and tastes like it too that even bonafide meat-eaters are impressed with the taste and texture.
It’s not only delicious but healthy and sustainable too. This fact has led many health buffs and animal lovers to switch to vegan meat.
In fact, there has been a significant shift away from meat consumption in recent years, globally. According to a report from GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, 70% of the population worldwide is reducing their meat consumption or is steering away from it altogether.
Why is veganism becoming so popular
The veganism revolution started to rise in popularity primarily due to the support of many Millenials. They are the key drivers of the practice because they are more likely to consider the source of their food, environmental impacts, and issues regarding animal welfare when making purchasing decisions.
With Millenials taking up a large percentage of consumers worldwide, their purchase decisions have a tremendous impact on any industry.
Although animal food products are rich in protein and other nutrients, they also come with a lot of harmful side-effects, especially when consumed in large quantities. Meat consumption increases your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes. It also carries the highest risk of foodborne illnesses, such as Salmonella, E. Coli, and Campylobacter.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 70% of food poisoning can be attributed to contaminated animal flesh.
To make matters worse, most meat has a large amount of hormones in it, especially in the cattle industry because cows are fed with pellets full of artificial hormones to help them grow at an unnatural rate.
It is estimated that around 56 to 150 million animals are slaughtered in farm animals every year for human consumption, which is already a heart-breaking reality.
On top of this, many animal farms condone and practice animal cruelty. Buying organic or free-range animal meat and eggs do not make things any better.
These are just some of the reasons why more and more people – not just the Millenials – are deciding to adopt veganism into their lives. The practice has also spilled out to other parts of the world, just check out this Vegan hotel and restaurant in Cambodia.
How much veganism has risen in popularity
With more and more people embracing animal-free, plant-based eating, there is no stopping the veganism movement from taking over the meat industry.
According to research conducted by GlobalData, only 1% of Americans said they were vegan in 2014. In 2017, however, the number increased to 6%, which is an astounding 600% increase in just three years.
Although the shift toward plant-based food is primarily driven by the Millenials, the fight against animal product consumption is bigger than any one generation. Take a look at all the celebrities, athletes, and even big companies such as Google and countries such as China that are all supporting the movement to eat more plants.
The Chinese government released a dietary guideline encouraging its more than 1.3 billion population to decrease their meat consumption by as much as 50%. In Hong Kong alone, approximately 22% of the population are reportedly already practicing some form or type of plant-based diet. China’s vegan market is predicted to see a 17% increase between 2015 and 2020.
What effects this is having on the meat industry
The Grocer, a leading food specialty magazine, notes that the burgeoning demand for plant-based foods is seriously shaking up the meat industry. And with the ever-growing popularity of the veganism movement, more and more people are starting to question the ethics, health credentials, and sustainability of the meat industry.
Additionally, the recent innovations in the food industry have allowed many manufacturers to create plant-based foods that closely resemble the taste and texture of real meat. The price of meat has also seen a steady increase in the last five years. So much so, that vegan meat is now at a stage where it is comparable to traditional meat when it comes to price and quality. Experts agree that vegan meat can take over the industry by a large margin in the coming years.
How important it is that we follow a vegan diet for the future of the planet?
With the ever-growing urbanization of many cities around the world, people started to leave behind their gardens and traditional diet in favor of oils, refined fats, refined sugars, and land intense agricultural products such as beef. This dietary transition is seriously endangering the health of not just the people, but also the planet.
David Tilman, Professor of Ecology from the University of Minnesota, and graduate student Michael Clark examined 50 years’ worth of data about the world’s top 100 most populous countries. Their research illustrates how the current diet trends are adding to the rising degradation of habitat and emissions of agricultural greenhouse gas.
If people continue to abuse the livestock industry to produce meat products, there will be severe repercussions for the planet’s environment.
In fact, scientists are already warning everyone that the situation will only worsen if this trend continues. They also predict that greenhouse gas emissions may rise as high as 80% by the year 2050.
Veganism is not just about encouraging people to eat more plant-based food products for its many health benefits. Also, it is most certainly not just another passing fad. Instead, it’s a culinary innovation that could potentially solve many of the issues associated with health, animal welfare, climate change, and other environmental problems.
It may sound strange, but your diet really does have an impact on the future of the next generation and the planet. So with all that has been said and done, veganism is not just about eating plant-based foods for health reasons. It’s a lifestyle choice.