Veganism is not a fad – and flexitarianism is here to stay, according to a report by leading publication Food Navigator.
The article, which says ‘plant-based eating is not just a passing trend’, references a recent report by Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) called The rise of plant-based food products and implications for meat and dairy.
The report claimed vegans see ditching animal products as ‘a badge of identity or a tribal marker, much like identifying…as a ‘gym bro’ or craft beer nerd’.
While the AHDB has written veganism off as a fad, according to its Senior Consumer Insight Analyst Susie Stannard, it is attracting a disproportionate amount of media attention.
She believes social media is driving interest, saying: “Correlation does not imply causation but it is undeniable that the platform [Instagram] has been used very effectively as a tool to share recipes and ideology.”
‘Not a fad’
Responding to the AHDB’s report, Food Navigatorsaid: “The concern for the meat and dairy sectors is that this [interest] is unlikely to be a fad, with several ‘anchor points’? suggesting veganism and flexitarianism – which involves reduced meat consumption, often for health reasons – are here to stay.”
Other experts agree: earlier this year Molly Johnson-Jones – a Senior Analyst at GlobalData Retail, told the BBC that the increasing availability of vegan items in low-cost outlets (for example Aldi) which stock a small range of items, suggests veganism’s time has come.
She said: “I don’t think it’s a fad. I think it’s a genuine shift.”
UK – and beyond
And this viewpoint goes beyond the UK: recent data compiled retail sales research company Nielsen showed that the US sales of vegan food have skyrocketed by more than 20 percent over the last year topping $3.3 billion.
Michele Simon, Executive Director of the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) – which commissioned the data, said: “The plant-based foods industry has gone from being a relatively niche market to fully mainstream.
“Plant-based meat and dairy alternatives are not just for vegetarians or vegans anymore; now even mainstream consumers are enjoying these delicious and innovative options in the market today.”