The Rise of Plant-Based Food: Past, Present & Future of Veganism

Anamika Mahapatra Anamika Mahapatra
Dec 30, 2021 7 min read
The Rise of Plant-Based Food: Past, Present & Future of Veganism

World Vegan Day is November 1st, and it's a day to honour those who do not eat animals, dairy, or anything else that originates from or involves an animal. They also don't wear any animal-derived apparel, accessories, or objects. The vegan day started in 1994 to mark the Vegan Society's golden jubilee. Here's a look at a brief history of veganism, present and what the future holds for the vegan industry.

Vegan Industry - Past: What is Veganism and who started it?
Vegan Industry - Present: Present Scenario and Its Impact on Different Industries
Vegan Industry - Future: What does the Future Hold for Vegan Industry?
FAQ

Vegan Industry - Past: What is Veganism and who started it?

Veganism is an advanced version of vegetarianism that traces its origins to India and eastern European communities, although the name was developed in 1944. In 500 BC, the Greek thinker and statistician Pythagoras of Samos initially proposed vegetarianism. He preached compassion amongst creatures, notably humankind, in contrast to his theory about right triangles. Vegetarianism was also espoused by Buddhists, Hindus, and Jain, who believed that people mustn’t impose agony on other species.

While it would occasionally flare up amid fitness trends and spiritual renaissance, the vegetarian diet never attracted the West. Vegetarianism and chastity were promoted by the Ephrata Cloister, a rigorous congregation founded in 1732 in Pennsylvania. Jeremy Bentham, an eighteenth-century pragmatic thinker, considered that animal slaughter was exactly as bad as mankind's misery, and compared human supremacy to bigotry.

In 1847, the 1st veggie group was founded in England. The American Vegetarian Society was co-founded shortly afterwards by Rev. Sylvester Graham, the originator of Graham crackers. Graham was a Presbyterian preacher, and his disciples, known as Grahamites, followed his rules for living a good life, which included veganism, sobriety, celibacy, and daily baths.

In Nov 1944, an English carpenter named Donald Watson declared that since vegetarians consume eggs and dairy, he coined the term "vegan" to denote those that don't. Last year, it was discovered in 40% of Britain's dairy cattle, which Watson exploited by arguing that the vegan diet protected individuals from unsafe meals.

He offered a precise clarification of how the name must be spoken 3 months into saying the word: "Vegan, not Veejan," he stated in his own Vegan Society magazine that had 25 readers. There would have been 2.5 lakh, vegans, in the UK and 1.9 million in the US when Watson passed in 2005 aged 95.

Vegan Industry - Present: Present Scenario and Its Impact on Different Industries

Folks often say they won't become vegan as they believe being a vegan themselves won't matter, or that the world will not go vegan, so it's meaningless for them to go vegan. Is it fair, though?

Veganism has the potential to save over 1000 species, over 1 lakh tons of water, over 32,000 sq. of forests, nearly 44,000 lbs of grains, and more. Isn't it incredible how much of an influence one can make in just 3 years as a vegan?

People change and demand change, and when more people change, this becomes a greater trend, which can lead to social reform.

Is the Vegan Industry growing?

Yep. I'd want to highlight plant milk as non-dairy milk substitutes and options such as soy milk and rice milk weren't viable two decades ago, certainly not publicly. Today, go to any supermarket and you'll notice soy, cashew, hazelnut, and other forms of milk. The non-dairy milk aisle at these shops is the same size as the dairy milk aisle. As a result, things are changing.

According to recent findings, as many as 6% of U.S. consumers identify as vegan, up from 1% in 2014. According to a 2018 study, about 40% of millennials identify as vegans, and economists have declared 2019 to be the year of veganism, with no signs of slowing off in 2020. Veganism is becoming trendier, and the number of vegans is rising.

It has a significant effect on the food industry. The worldwide food sector was estimated to be valued at over 12 billion in 2018, and vegan food sales in the U.S. climbed 11% from 2018 to 2019. In 2016, the worldwide dairy segment was worth more than $8 billion, but by 2024, it is predicted to be valued at more than $11 billion. This indicates that vegan products are on the rise, while non-vegan ones are on the decline.

Impact on the Food sector

The worldwide vegan meat sector is also rising, with estimates that it will reach 7.5 billion dollars by 2025, driven by firms like Beyond Meat, which had the top overall public offering by a leading U.S. firm in over 2 decades when its shares went public.

The vegan food business in the United States rose by 29% during 2017 and 2019, with a world average of $27.9 billion by 2025. Due to the recent spike in tofu sales during the pandemic, Canada issued new food rules that are more vegan forward, and the Chinese govt-issued new regulations that aimed to cut meat intake in half.

Vegan brands such as the veggie grill and plant power fast food are also seeing progress. Vegan and veg have been top Meta keywords on services like UberEats and Grubhub recently, and this shift in expansion isn't just happening for vegan sectors; a lot of big chains, such as Subway, Dunkin' Donuts, Taco Bell, and KFC, are currently adding vegan food to their menus, allowing even more change.

This shift is so pervasive and dangerous that certain animal-based firms and organizations have begun to sue plant-based enterprises in an attempt to prevent them from using terms like "milk" or "butter" on their items.

Impact on Fashion and Entertainment Sector

Veganism isn't all about diet; it's about all forms of animal suffering, which encompasses a wide range of sectors. So, are those sectors undergoing any shifts as well? Vegan culture is gaining popularity.

By 2025, the vegan leather business is expected to be worth $85 billion. By 2025, the global demand for vegan makeup is expected to reach $20.8 billion. Like Ringling Brothers, non-vegan theatre is losing steam and closing. Whales, dolphins, and porpoises are no longer held captive for amusement in Canada.

Vegan Industry - Future: What does the Future Hold for Vegan Industry?

Veganism is gaining popularity in civilized countries. A major study put the plant-based diet to the trial, examining a hypothetical case in which the world becomes vegan by 2050. Greenhouse gases could be decreased by three-quarters if this occurs.

Cows are the primary source of greenhouse gases. Methane is produced by bugs in their digestive tract, while co2 is injected by deforestation for their grazing. These gases cause global warming. Cows would be the 3rd largest producer of greenhouse gas if they were a nation.

Animals raised on farms have a strong desire to graze on the land. Animal farming takes up more than 80% of all farmland on the planet. However, it only yields 18% of the world's calories. To gain by one kilo, a cow needs roughly ten kilos of food, pigs six kilos, and poultry 3 to 4 kilos. A lot of food is lost as cattle feed, which we would then consume.

More diverse vegan diets with low calories can save lives with a well-balanced vegan diet. Early death might be lowered by 20% if the world went vegan in 2050, making the world economy healthy as well.

A lot of money is spent on treating illnesses like stroke, cancer, and diabetes that are linked to diets. In 2050, around one trillion dollars might be saved. That'd be around 3% of the total cost of healthcare.

Since 1960, worldwide meat consumption has grown at a rate of over 3% per year. No one loves how factories treat their animals. Because meat firms don't own the farms, shifting from chickens or pigs to vegan meat is simple. If the market and the customers want it, they're willing to adjust. The world may potentially hit peak meat and descend another way due to a lack of economical and available options.

If you look at historical statistics, it's improbable that the world will be vegan by 2050. We'd have a little chance to stay below toxic levels of global warming unless we made massive diet adjustments further towards vegan diets. However, switching to a vegan diet may be beneficial.

A vegan diet could bring us three-quarters of the way there. Authorities can play a key role by setting effective nutritional guidelines. They can implement sourcing standards that make it apparent that the baseline foods bought are plant-based, healthy, and environmentally friendly.

Is Vegan Meat better than Regular Meat?

We are addicted to the taste of meat, yet the only way to break this habit is to create goods that provide the exact taste minus the use of an animal. Plant-based meat employs the same machinery as meat processing factories. Only this time, there won't be any blood all over the place. Components like soy, lupine, wheat, peas, and others can be utilized in the preparation of replica meats to provide a similar experience.


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Conclusion

Vegan meat is simply the next step on the path of agricultural advancements. In the farming sector, things are forever evolving. There were billions of horses to move and plough a century ago. They are now on the endangered list because we no longer require them. The meat will be made using automation in the future, and slaughter species will be endangered as well, leaving room for wild poultry and feral pigs. That, I hope, is destiny.

FAQ

Is the vegan food industry growing?

Yes, the global vegan industry is projected to expand at a CAGR of 9.6% from 2019 to 2026.

What is the vegan industry worth?

The Vegan Food market size was valued at $14.2 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $31.4 billion by 2026.

What percentage of the world is vegan in 2021?

Around 79 million people are vegans in 2021.

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