Farm Sense Year of the Vegan 020819
Farm Sense with Clinton Griffiths ( Farm Journal )

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. 

Submitted by Tom on Fri, 02/08/2019 - 16:30

No, you don't get the same courtesy, because another creature is involved who doesn't have a say and whose life is on the line. Someone has to speak up for that animal.

Submitted by Stevie on Fri, 02/08/2019 - 17:11

Thank you for your input. Studies should always be taken with a grain of salt because you never know who is funding them. With that being said, there are a lot of people converting to veganism as we speak. Just because it isn’t happening in huge numbers does not mean it’s not happening. People are starting to become aware of all the negative impacts of animal agriculture. By going vegan, not only do you improve your own health, but the health of those helpless animals. Not to mention the huge impact it has on our own EARTH. Animal agriculture is the largest threat to our environment.

Also, your comment about us being lucky to eat whatever we want doesn’t really make sense. There are tons of traditional societies that eat what is local to them. Not only do they enjoy it, they thrive on it. They probably look at eggs and bacon with disgust. They have lower cases of diseases and are a lot more fit than those who eat an omnivorous diet.

You have to realize that being vegan has nothing to do with you but everything to do with the well being of those who can’t stick up for themselves (aka basic morality). It has everything to do with preserving the environment and allowing our children to live in a prosperous world.

But hey, you go ahead and enjoy your eggs and bacon. :)

Submitted by Max on Fri, 02/08/2019 - 18:19

"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. "

This was the only quote of your article that I disagreed with. If I am a vegan I am not harming any animals. You as a meat eater are harming animals or paying someone else to do it for you. That process is nasty and cruel to billions of animals so why do you expect me to extend to you a courtesy of silence?

Also, I think you are likely lying to yourself. Do you honestly never tell anyone what to do with their lives? I know I tell people what to do and am proud of it. I tell my kids not to smoke, to do drugs, or to ride in a car without a seatbelt. I do this because I love them. Silence would be bad parenting. Here silence is bad too as it allows for more animals to die needlessly, for the enviroment to be damaged, and for humans to continue to suffer from heart disease, obesity, and cancers. So yeah, lots of room for personal growth on your end. How rude of me for not being silent.