Veganism: Is it Winning?

In 2016, a study was published by Dr Marco Springmann of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food. The conclusion: “a global switch to diets that rely less on meat and more on fruit and vegetables could save up to 8 million lives by 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds, and lead to health-care related savings”.

To conduct their study, researchers suggested four different dietary models: a prediction of a future diet, global dietary guidelines consisting of the minimum amount of fruit, vegetables, red meats, and sugar, a vegetarian diet and lastly, a vegan diet. The results revealed a significant decrease in the number of deaths per year, whilst also indicating that the greatest number of avoided deaths would be in developing countries, due to their high consumption of red meat. 

Springmann’s study is clear; fruit and vegetable intake would have to be more than doubled in certain countries, whilst the consumption of red meat needs to be halved globally. Rome was not built in a day, equally, the restructuring of human diets cannot be amended in such a short space of time. Whilst this is the case, according to Kantar Worldpanel, “more than a quarter of all evening meals in the UK are vegan or vegetarian”, indicating that the diets of British people are most certainly changing. 

“Adopting healthier and more environmentally sustainable diets can be a large step in the right direction. The size of the projected benefits should individuals, industry, and policy makers to act decisively to make sure that what we eat our environment and our health”

Dr Marco Springmann

In 2018, the UK launched more vegan products than any other nation, and according to the British Takeaway Campaign, vegan meals are now the “fastest-growing take-away choice”, with a staggering 388% rise in popularity between 2016-2018. In December 2019, Waterstones found 9,030 books available to purchase with “Vegan” in the title, a considerable increase from 944 vegan-related books in August 2018. Given these exponential figures, it remains unsurprising that “veganism” represents the biggest food trend in 2018. 

As a budgeting student, veganism could save your student loan. In a report released by Thinkmoney in 2019, a meat-free diet can save British people around £645 a year. Although it is offten associated with expensive meat-free alternatives, the vegan diet is a bargain, with tins of beans and pulses costing less than 50p in Aldi. 

“It’s expected that a quarter of all British people will be vegetarian in 2025…and half of us will identify as flexitarians”.

Claire Hughes, Head of Quality and Innovation at Sainsbury’s

Indeed, food trends fluctuate and are often dictated by economic and geographic circumstances, as well as cultural opinion at the time. The 1940s saw the rise in popularity of the iconic canned meat, Spam, whilst the 60s witnessed the demand for canned instant foods, such as Campbell’s Condensed Soups. Both trends remain bullets that the modern food industry has managed to dodge! Yet, veganism has truly left its mark on the nation’s cuisine and food market, creating an increase of 123% in adverts for vegan job roles in 2018 alone, making vegans look like the way of the future. 

Featured image from: British Bakels