Is it Really the 'Year of the Vegan'?

February 8, 2019 09:42 AM

COMMENTARY:  Forbes and The Economist have each rolled out reports declaring 2019 as the 'Year of the Vegan'.

Twitter claims the animal product free diet was its top food trend last month and 54% of social media influencers now post about veganism.

Uber Eats, the home food delivery service, named 'plant-based' the top trend of 2018 in its end-of-year report. It predicts vegan food will be the most popular pick for 2019 as estimates expect over two billion in sales this year.

Joyce de Brevannes with Erewhon Organic Grocer and Cafe says, "We definitely are seeing more and more people, probably not going all the way vegan but definitely incorporating more vegan items into their diet." 

While media coverage is heavy, let's look at the numbers:

According to a report by research firm GlobalData, 6% of U.S. consumers claimed to be vegan in 2017 which is up from just 1% in 2014.

Meat eaters, however, aren't fading away. As we've reported from our partners at Drovers, Americans ate a record amount of red meat and poultry in 2018. USDA says per capita consumption of red meat and poultry was estimated at 220 pounds, and that trend is expected to continue.

USDA also says having beef on the menu has been shown to increase restaurant traffic by 45 percent.

But, even for die-hard vegetarians, the struggle is real. Recent surveys found 51% of millennial vegetarians have consumed meat in the last week, another survey of 11-thousand Americans found that 84% of people who have adopted vegetarianism or vegan diets at some point in their lives have gone back to eating meat.

Finally, two other surveys, one from CNN and one from USDA, found two-thirds of vegetarians when asked had eaten meat within the last 24 hours.

Growing up in a cattle and ranching family, vegan isn't ever going to be my thing and that's okay. I'm not going to tell anyone what to do because it's your body and your life. Of course, I expect the same courtesy. 

What I will say is we should all consider ourselves lucky to live in a country where we have OPTIONS. Not everyone, in fact, I would guess most in the world don't, have the luxury of being picky when it comes to their food. 

So while trendy food may be fun with new products like hemp-infused water, jackfruit and cauliflower taco shells I think I'll stick with eggs and bacon. 

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