New research suggests that singer Beyoncé triggered an rise in the vegan movement – following her 22-day stint in 2013.
While the performer only followed a plant-based diet – rather than adhering to an ethical vegan lifestyle – this was enough to potentially encourage millions to follow suit, according to a doctoral thesis by scholar Outi Lundahl.
While compiling her thesis at a Finnish university, Lundahl focused on the rise of veganism in Britain, and argued that celebrities drove these changes.
Lundahl says celebrity power couple Beyoncé and Jay Z, along with Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez, have all inspired people to turn away from meat.
Lundahl said about her research: “I initially investigated the new-found status of sustainable consumption, but turned my attention to the rise of veganism in the UK when something unexpected happened.
“In December 2013, pop diva Beyoncé, along with her husband, rapper Jay Z, decided to go vegan for 22 days.
“Interest in veganism seemed to explode because of this stint, and I became intrigued.”
In her doctoral thesis, Lundahl claims that as the number of celebrity vegans increased, the meanings people attached to veganism changed.
She explained that because of celebrities, veganism has become a seen as a weight-loss diet, instead of a political, moral and ethical lifestyle.
As a result of this, Lundahl advises the general public to educate themselves on veganism as a lifestyle – and not a just a healthy diet.
Dominika Piasecka, spokesperson for The Vegan Society, agrees that that these high profile characters can have an impact.
She said: “Celebrities are role models. Their influence has definitely helped to further the cause of veganism.
“You can get everything your body needs from a vegan diet – vegans actually tend to eat much more fruit and vegetables than the rest of the population which has amazing health benefits.”