In an article of the magazine’s special edition The World in 2019, The Economist’ correspondent John Parker declared 2019 the “year of the Vegan”.
According to Parker, interest in veganism is soring, especially among millenials, with “fully a quarter of 25- to 34-year-old Americans declaring to be vegans or vegetarians.”
The Economist’ prediction focuses mainly on the North-American market but 2019 looks like a promising year for veganism also in Europe.
2018 has already been a year of good news and emerging trends for the vegan scene in Europe and hopefully, these trends and news represent the telltale signs of an even more markedly vegan-friendly 2019.
I here grouped five of this news and trends that likely paved the way for 365 new days of veganism in the “old continent”.
As I often mention, ending animal farming is, according to Effective Altruism-inspired research, one of the three cause areas the world of doing good should focus on.
The end of animal farming, or its substantial reduction, would indeed bring huge benefits to the planet, our health, and the lives of the 56 billion animals slaughtered every year for meat consumption.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
5 Great things that happened in the European vegan world in 2018
1) Unilever’s acquisition of The Vegetarian Butcher
Let’s start from the end. The 19th of December, British-Dutch consumer goods behemoth Unilever announced the acquisition of Dutch meat-substitute company The Vegetarian Butcher.
Founded by a former cattle farmer, De Vegetarische Slager – “the vegetarian butcher” in Dutch – acquired sort of a cult status among vegans thanks to its plant-based burgers, nuggets, and hotdogs.
Unilever declared that the acquisition, for an undisclosed amount, “fits its strategy to move into healthier plant-based foods with a lower environmental impact.”
2) Vegan junk food becomes mainstream
Unilever’s acquisition of The Vegetarian Butcher fits also in a larger trend that sees vegan “junk food” replacing traditional meat-based staples of fast-food menus.
As Rachel Sugar reported in a recent story for Vox, 2018 was “a banner year for delicious processed food that just so happens to be meat- and dairy-free.” Interestingly, the proliferation of vegan junk food is appealing not just for “vegan-identified vegans” but also “regular omnivores who are interested in novelty, or climate change.”
Anecdotally, a new location of the popular Amsterdam-based Vegan Junk Food Bar just opened at a walking distance from my office, right in time for the new year.
3) Vivera steaks sell out at Tesco
Last May, Netherlands-based vegan fast-food company Vivera brought to UK supermarket chain Tesco its plant-based steak.
As reported by Vivera, just under 40,000 steaks had been sold within just a week of being stocked.
In the following months, the vegan Dutch company brought its steaks to dozens of other supermarkets across The Netherlands and Belgium.
4) Beyond Meat’s burgers hit supermarkets
On a similar note, American company Beyond Meat arrived in Europe, distributing its plant-based burgers that “look, taste, and cook like beef”.
In the United Kingdom, the burgers finally hit Tesco’s supermarkets mid-December.
5) The clean meat movement gains momentum
In all of this, the clean meat movement gained momentum thanks to increasing media curiosity and the news of a series of big investments in the field.
Much of this happened in the United States – where governmental agencies like the USDA and FDA laid out an early framework for the regulation of cultured meat – and in Israel – sort of the Mecca for lab-grown burgers and steaks.
But European companies and universities played a significant role as well. For example, last july, Dutch startup Mosa Meat announced that it had raised € 7.5 million to commercialize cultured meat, bringing it to the market by 2021.
Some vegans may object that clean meat is real meat produced by animal cells and therefore not vegan. This is certainly true but it’s at the same time undeniable that the commercialization of clean meat would speed up the ending of animal farming, serving then the same goal the vegan movement is pursuing.
So, everything looks ready for a vegan-powered 2019. And you might consider joining the movement too: different studies highlight that eating a plant-based diet is one of the four most effective ways to cut on your individual carbon emissions.
Switching to veganism in January sounds then like the perfect New Year’s resolution and, thanks to the wide offer of tasty junk food vegan options that I described above, going vegan has never been so easy.
In this regard, Veganuary is a UK charity that aims to inspire people to try vegan for January. Check out their website if you need tips or recipes.
I’m an editor and media researcher based in the Netherlands. At the moment, I’m busy startupping Kinder World, a new platform for all the people interested in the world of doing good.