BRANCH LEAD STORY BRANCH PODCAST ENVIRONMENT LIFESTYLE OPINION Veganism

The corporate debate: Is it ethical for major companies to launch vegan products?

Branch reporter Ulani speaks to blogger @issythevegan to understand her take on big vegan releases.

Vegan is the word of the moment. Each week, more and more products are being launched and UK food bloggers can’t wait to digest the latest plant-based trends.

The number of people trying plant-based alternatives is at an all-time high, and according to research conducted by The Independent, more than one in three British people solely drink plant-based milk, resulting in a 44% decline in UK packaged milk production.

This is good news for the environment, with 91% of rainforest destruction a result of animal agriculture, according to the Netflix documentary Cowspiracy

The younger generation are a lot more savvy when it comes to the environmental impact of animal produce, and thanks to the power and popularity of social giant TikTok, ordering plant milk at Starbucks is no longer a cause for controversy, it’s cool.

Veganism is now fashionable, and there’s a lot of hope that it’ll remain a sustained trend. This year, a record 500,000 people signed up to Veganuary, pledging to only eat plant-based foods for a month. What’s exciting to see, is that the vegan food market is growing outside of the community, with a staggering 92% of UK plant based meals eaten by non-vegans in 2018

It’s suspected that although so many carnivores are trialling alternatives to their favourite foods, the demand for solely plant-based shops and eateries just isn’t there. To add to this, these businesses, like the 250,000 others on the brink of closure, have been majorly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic

Kate Nicholls is the executive of UK hospitality. She suggests that some vegan restaurants could be struggling as they don’t appeal to the wider market

She claims “Although Veganism is gaining prominence, and demand for vegan products seems to have soared, actually only a small percentage of people identify as vegan

Whilst this is true, the widespread availability of cheap and easy vegan alternatives seems much more inviting to the average person. Although there is significant ethical concern over big companies launching vegan products, ultimately a large number of people making smaller changes is what’s going to make the biggest environmental impact.

Big vegan changes can be a good thing

@issythevegan believes that big company releases make vegan choices more appealing

She said “ordinary people wouldn’t go out of their way to try a vegan brand, but if it’s there, they might buy it”

Listen to the full interview with Issy.

It seems as if a lot of other members of the community are on the same page, @accidentallyveganuk promote products that are suitable for vegans, but not necessarily designed to be

It’s about finding a balance, @accidentallyveganuk claims.

It seems it is possible to still support your local independent vegan business, but also stand by the progressive campaigns big companies are making.

Follow @accidentallyveganuk to stay up to date with the latest product releases, just in time for Christmas!

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