Double denim, mullets and YOLO are all trends that most of us are more than happy to see on the out. We all know fashion trends come and go, but what about lifestyle, ethical and philosophical trends? Are these types of trends really that horrible when they are doing more good than bad? And is it really even a trend at all if the interest is only increasing?
One of the so-called trends I’m talking about is Veganism. In recent decades, the world has seen a huge increase in interest towards veganism, including ethical and sustainable living. And the interest seems to only be growing. Animal products such a meat and dairy still hold a high stake in mainstream culture. However, there has been a significant change in the way the world is beginning to view veganism, what it stands for and shifting towards a more universal vegan society.
For most people living a vegan lifestyle, it’s much more than just a trend. To a lot of vegans, it’s a fundamental philosophy that they choose to live by. Although trends are often seen as fads that won’t last, sometimes they can have a positive influence on the world.
Consumers across the world seem to be catching onto the importance and benefits associated with excluding animal products from their diet. People are leaning towards healthier, sustainable and cruelty-free options.
Is there really a change?
Changes with regard to lifestyle and dietary preferences are being revealed through data across the world.
According to Google trends, there has been nearly a 50% increase in people searching for the word ‘vegan’. Australia, UK and the US are just a few of the many countries taking charge and showing a significant growth in the interest towards veganism. Searches for the word ‘vegan’, ‘ethical living’ and ‘vegan food’ in Australia have also doubled from 2011-2016, and continues to steadily grow.
Who and what are driving this change?
So, what has taken veganism from a kitsch word, to being something even small cafés and restaurants have on their menu and who is pushing for this change?
According to Animals Australia, millennials are leading the change, where the average age of vegans ranges from 15-34. There has never been a time when a generation has more access to information than now. With much of the internet’s information being peer-generated and reviewed, the strong sense of community that has been built online may be the main driving force behind the changes.
The Internet and Social Media
One of the biggest contributors to the interest in veganism is the internet and social media. These platforms allow users to easily reach thousands or millions of people with the click of a button. In the past, our only contact with others was in person and occasionally on the phone; trends (especially lifetsyle) did not have the same exposure as they do now.
With all of the information about veganism at our fingertips, people who are more interested in where their food is coming from can easily access this information. There has never been a generation of people who have more access to this information than now! This may very well be a contributor to the vegan movement. As we all know, nothing makes you want to give up meat quicker than Googling ‘factory farming’!
Trends can be tricky, but are they always bad?
Another benefit to this vegan ‘trend’ is that veganism is becoming more mainstream. By becoming ‘trendier’, people are becoming more familiar with the ideas and values behind it. Restaurants, cafes and even movie theatres realize that they have an opportunity to get more customers by offering vegan friendly options.
There has also been a significant shift in the demand for vegan products in recent times. 10 years ago, you were lucky to find almond milk anywhere but a health food store, now there are rows upon rows of vegan items at the local grocery store. The demand for non-dairy products and meat substitutes has increased as well, resulting in better tasting products that even the most dedicated meat eaters will often try and enjoy.
Where is veganism headed?
The last decade has seen a huge change in the way the world sees veganism. According to Google trends, searches for the word ‘vegan’ have increased by nearly 50% in five years and show no signs of slowing down. This increased interest in veganism might be due to the accessibility that we have thanks to the Internet and social media platforms. Anyone can search for veganism and end up with thousands of results within seconds.
Another reason for the increase might be due to the fact that it’s becoming more mainstream and ‘acceptable’ to be vegan. More restaurants and cafes are cashing in on this and providing more vegan options, making the average vegan’s diet easier to maintain.
So what does this mean for the future, are we really looking at a future vegan society? Well, if the current generation of young people understands its fundamental importance and is supportive and interested in veganism, it is likely!
The next generation will be born into a world where veganism is readily accepted as a healthy and happy way to live, with vegan products being easily accessible to anyone. If veganism continues the way it is, it is likely that we are looking at a world where there will be little demand for animal products. This will lead to a decrease in animal exploitation. If this shift continues to grow, we are looking at a better, brighter and more accepting generation that does not just accept cruelty because it’s the way it’s always been done. Now that’s what I call evolution!