Is veganism really gaining ground?

Sax

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I'm proud to be a vegan. I consider it to be an achievement. there is nothing wrong with the people who find it hard.

No, there's nothing wrong with people who find it hard...but it isn't because veganism is fundamentally difficult - it's not. Being vegan is easy. Transitioning can be difficult, social and family pressure can exacerbate that, health and digestive issues can definitely complicate things. You've been particularly helpful on this forum helping people try to resolve those issues. And as you like to point out, to be vegan you merely have to abstain from animal products as much as is possible and practicable, which will vary by person. Anyone who can't meet that standard is still welcome IMO to advocate for animal rights and/or plant based eating, but they're more appropriately referred to as flexitarians or reducitarians. There should be no "vegan-ish" - either you're doing the best you can to avoid animal products, or you're not. And that distinction is important.
 

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25 years, and it hasn't broken 5 percent, and decreased briefly in 2016.

Even assuming the polls are accurate, from 1 to 5 percent over a period of almost three decades is hardly anything to celebrate.

We can do better.


I've found these polls quantifying the percentage of Americans who are vegetarian:

1994 Roper Poll: 1% of Americans consider themselves vegetarian.
Link: Vegetarian Journal Sep/Oct 97 How Many Vegetarians Are There? -- The Vegetarian Resource Group

1997 Roper Poll: 1% of Americans consider themselves vegetarian (no change from 1994).
Link: Vegetarian Journal Sep/Oct 97 How Many Vegetarians Are There? -- The Vegetarian Resource Group

2000 National Zogby Poll: 2.5% of Americans consider themselves vegetarian.
Link: https://faunalytics.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Citation170.pdf

2005 CBS News Poll (last item in the report): 2% of Americans consider themselves vegetarian.
Link: How And Where America Eats

2012 Gallup Poll: 5% of Americans consider themselves vegetarian:
Link: Snapshot: Few Americans Vegetarian or Vegan

2016 Harris Poll: 3.3% of Americans consider themselves vegetarian.
Link: Harris Poll | Vegetarian Journal | Vegetarian Resource Group

2018 Gallup Poll: 5% of Americans consider themselves vegetarian.
Link: Snapshot: Few Americans Vegetarian or Vegan


Note that these polls differed in the details of their questions. Some of the surveys asked specific questions about if/how often the individuals ate beef, pork, chicken and/or fish; these surveys would be more accurate than surveys that simply inquired about vegetarian self-identification.

Nevertheless, it appears that the % of vegetarian Americans has increased over the past 25 years.
 
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Lou

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1% to 5% is a 500% increase. Over 25 years, that is something like a 20% increase per year.

The other thing, and I think I mentioned this somewhere is the optics. I wonder if any of those polls asked people's opinions of vegans.

First off, I wonder what was the percentage 25 years ago of people who knew what a vegan was. or knew a vegetarian. or could even name a vegan or vegetarian. Today most everyone knows what a vegan is. Probably knows a vegetarian, and can probably name at least one vegan.

Ten years ago no marketing executive wanted its food branded vegan. Nowadays many products display a vegan label. I think they even pay to be certified vegan. And check out that article I posed on Vegan Butter.

I couldn't find any cool charts or graphs but I know 10 years ago my little nearby grocery store only had like one brand and 3 flavors of plant milks. Now it has dozens. The one stat i could find is that plant milk sales have increased 60% over the last 5 years.

Sure, only a few percents of those sales are due to vegans. But the cows don't care why people don't buy dairy products. Dairy products were already declining before the Coronavirus. distributors and dairy farms have been going out of business pretty fast.

Getting back to the grocery store, the vegan food market is growing at something like 10% a year. Vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians, aspiring vegans, vegan-curious, vegantarians, and simply the health conscious are contributing to that growth. And it might just be ego or arrogance but I think its vegans who are the driving force. (with some help from climate change and health care professionals) ;)
 

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I seriously believe it will come down to food choices normalized. People are buying non dairy milks like it's nothing now, eating tofu, even talking about how much they liked the Beyond Burger they had at a restaurant. Buying plant based butters
Probably won't be a conversion anytime soon, but reducing how much meat and dairy we eat is huge!
They're watching health documentaries too, so plant based will most likely be the word first
 

David3

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I think the rising popularity of vegetarian and somewhat-vegetarian diets is partly due to the new, hyper-realistic vegan "meats" and "dairy" foods.

People are willing to change, if the changes are convenient.

If I were 20 years old, I would get a university degree in food science or process engineering and go work for a vegan meat or cellular meat company.
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A couple of observations:
  • In my experience, the vast majority of vegans are not abolitionist, but favour incremental improvements to animal welfare.

Although I agree with most of what you say here and elsewhere, this doesn't look right. I think the majority of proper vegans are abolitionist and abolitionism is part of the ideology. I guess our experience has been different. Anyway, I'm not sure that's a key discussion point in this thread.

In another post you mentioned Christianity. I believe it was sometime in the 3rd century AD, 200-300 years after Jesus died, that Christianity really started taking off after ages of being a fringe movement.

I think that if society keeps advancing intellectually and doesn’t get huge disasters then I think most people will become vegetarian or vegan – I think it will take about 50 to 200 years.

Look at the issue of racism. 300 years ago slavery was common. In 300 years huge progress has been made on the racism issue, but we aren't all the way there yet.

Sexism is similar. 100 years ago women were winning the right to vote, maybe 50 years ago gaining broader entrance to the work place. Today huge improvements have been made but still there are major issues such as representation in positions of power and sexual violence.

Human beings are resistance to change, so thing take forever. But, if society doesn't collapse, then we should get there in the end!
 
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I tend to the view that the uptake of veganism falls somewhere distant from the mean on the bell curve of types (from the most caring to the most uncaring). Put another way, about as many people as naturally lean that way are already veg*n and convincing people to truly be ethical vegans becomes less effective the further we travel towards the mean.

I think there a couple of ways in which the situation may be more optimistic than you think.

1 Societies seem to become more ethical over time. It's hard to imagine apartheid South Africa today. As recently as the 1990s, gay marriage was illegal everywhere. This could lead to more veganism over time as ethical standards generally improve.

2. There may only be a small minority of people that are caring enough to be vegan when everyone around them is a meat eater, but once you have other family and friends to encourage you, it requires less of a strong determined ethic. I'm sharing a graph from business theory that is typically related to the adoption of a product or technology but I think also an idea.

In technology, say smart phones, the 2.5% of innovators are the people who pre ordered the first iphone or queued up outside a store. The 16% of laggards are the ones that finally got a smart phone last year because everyone was nagging them about how it was just a hassle that they are the only one not in the whatsapp group. They didn't suddenly became more interested in smart phones.

The 2.5% of innovators - in veganism/vegetarianism, that's us on this forum. The 13.5% of early adopters sort of agree with the ethics (but less certain) and need to have a few innovators around them to copy and talk them into it. The 34% of early majority are the people that can see the ethical arguments, but aren't caring enough to do it unless it's very easy and they are surrounded by full vegan restaurants everywhere and vegan-label food has reached price parity and Beyond Burgers are all over the place etc. The 34% of late majority have no independent intellectual ethics at all really, their ethics are purely based on laws and societal norms, and their behaviour is based largely on copying others, but these people can become vegan simply because everyone is doing it and the evidence has become indisputable that veganism is healthy and ethically and environmentally better (this group won't ever look at science or watch documentaries, so they won't realize the truths about veganism until it just becomes common knowledge in all social groups, on the radio, on TV etc).

By now I'm talking about decades into the future.

The 16% of laggards are hopelessly resistance to change and have really no ethics at all in relation to food. They'll go mostly vegan because factory farming is becoming illegal, meat is becoming expensive as climate change degrades land and population increases and meat taxes are becoming applied, it is becoming a hassle to be the only one at a social gathering eating meat and everyone telling jokes about you and you feel the glares and disapproval, and is becoming annoying to be constantly worried about when you will be criticised in public, and because, after you gave up on the first two doctors and declared they were idiots, the third doctor still reccomended that greatly reducing your meat will give you a better and longer life.

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David3

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Good solutions need great marketing, or they go nowhere.

Loma Linda Big Franks are the most realistic vegan hot dogs I've ever had, but I've never seen them on the shelves of major supermarkets. Worthington company has a poor marketing team.

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Mork

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no absolutely not , I think goals that are more realistic should be strived for like making better vegan products, like raising money for synthetic meat production, like getting people to eat less meat rather than giving up entirely, and less lies and spin from vegans because it undermines a very good moral position, undermines respect the potency of the points made , and how seriously vegans are taken now and long into the future


I think these are achievable higher % goals that will save more animal lives than lying and trying to persuade meat eaters to eat our disgusting diet in its entirety
 
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silva

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no absolutely not , I think goals that are more realistic should be strived for like making better vegan products, like raising money for synthetic meat production, like getting people to eat less meat rather than giving up entirely, and less lies and spin from vegans because it undermines a very good moral position, undermines respect the potency of the points made , and how seriously vegans are taken now and long into the future


I think these are achievable higher % goals that will save more animal lives than lying and trying to persuade meat eaters to eat our disgusting diet in its entirety
What lies exactly?
And whose disgusting diet?
If you have a disgusting diet maybe we can be of help
 
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Mork

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What lies exactly?
And whose disgusting diet?
If you have a disgusting diet maybe we can be of help
Yea thats exactly what im talking about, people are not thick saying we are not meant to eat meat, and making up science while saying our diet tastes just as good as a meat diet you know it just insults people, and undermines our cause.

Youd save alot more animals by saying hey it doesn't taste as good and we are meant to eat meat in nature, but maybe you have the heart to reduce how much meat you eat if you cant cut it out all together.

Then praising people who reduce meat

Its alot smarter more realistic, creates a better real world result and its more moral.
 
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David3

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Yea thats exactly what im talking about, people are not thick saying we are not meant to eat meat, and making up science while saying our diet tastes just as good as a meat diet you know it just insults people, and undermines our cause.

Youd save alot more animals by saying hey it doesn't taste as good and we are meant to eat meat in nature, but maybe you have the heart to reduce how much meat you eat if you cant cut it out all together.

Then praising people who reduce meat

Its alot smarter more realistic, creates a better real world result and its more moral.

You won’t convince many vegans to agree with you if you insult people so much. Make your points calmly, and stop claiming that vegans lie. Some vegans tell some lies. And so do some omnivores. Your generalizations are inaccurate.
 

Mork

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You won’t convince many vegans to agree with you if you insult people so much. Make your points calmly, and stop claiming that vegans lie. Some vegans tell some lies. And so do some omnivores. Your generalizations are inaccurate.


well it happens alot, made up science and poorly made political style persuasion/spin, only 1% of the population are vegan, I think new tactics should be employed to save animals, because what we are doing doesn't work very well, clearly
 

Mork

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Your anger emotion Lou is from a good place I empathize with you., you are a truly moral human, but do I not have a good point, am I perhaps onto something that might help animals more? Because what we are doing amounts to almost nothing, that to me says change tactics....fast

(its a different dynamic to politics and sales, I mean it was worth trying but 1% says everything, we need new tactics )
 
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Lou

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Your anger emotion Lou is from a good place I empathize with you., you are a truly moral human, but do I not have a good point, am I perhaps onto something that might help animals more? Because what we are doing amounts to almost nothing, that to me says change tactics....fast


I disagree with everything you just said. Just look at this thread. We are gaining ground.
 

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Yea thats exactly what im talking about, people are not thick saying we are not meant to eat meat, and making up science while saying our diet tastes just as good as a meat diet you know it just insults people, and undermines our cause.

Youd save alot more animals by saying hey it doesn't taste as good and we are meant to eat meat in nature, but maybe you have the heart to reduce how much meat you eat if you cant cut it out all together.

Then praising people who reduce meat

Its alot smarter more realistic, creates a better real world result and its more moral.
Ok, one--humans are omnivores, very much opportunitstic. We eat what we can, what's available. If carnivores were to finish off an animal our ancestors would wait to scavenge the remaining carcass. Yes we evolved eating meat, but it was a rare and laborous find
Please do your research and post your findings before making such contested claims
Two--who exactly are you referring to as "our", as in "our diet tastes just as good as a meat diet you know it just insults people, and undermines our cause."
I'm vegan, and my diet is much tastier than any with animal products
 
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Mork

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Ok, one--humans are omnivores, very much opportunitstic. We eat what we can, what's available. If carnivores were to finish off an animal our ancestors would wait to scavenge the remaining carcass. Yes we evolved eating meat, but it was a rare and laborous find
Please do your research and post your findings before making such contested claims
Two--who exactly are you referring to as "our", as in "our diet tastes just as good as a meat diet you know it just insults people, and undermines our cause."
I'm vegan, and my diet is much tastier than any with animal products
Ok well thats fantastic for you I find less options worse than more options, especially when its something as satisfying filling and tasty as meat, . Im finding the change horrific and really difficult to be frank.
 
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silva

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Your anger emotion Lou is from a good place I empathize with you., you are a truly moral human, but do I not have a good point, am I perhaps onto something that might help animals more? Because what we are doing amounts to almost nothing, that to me says change tactics....fast

(its a different dynamic to politics and sales, I mean it was worth trying but 1% says everything, we need new tactics )
Why do you keep using the terms "we" and "our"?

Meat and dairy are monetized, they're subsidized. There is literally a science of addiction that brought people to eat the SAD.
There are now vegan products infiltrating the market, but they're also competing with the WFPB diets, and neither have the money or marketing that animal products do with the branded name, and government support
The American healthcare system is largely funded by big ag--you know, food and drugs
 

silva

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Ok well thats fantastic for you I find less options worse than more options, especially when its something as satisfying filling and tasty as meat, . Im finding the change horrific and really difficult to be frank.
Who are you???
 

Mork

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Who are you???

Im just someone that thinks outside the box, and gets hated on for it, even though I have good intentions and BETTER IDEAS THAT WILL RESULT IN MORE ANIMALS BEING SAVED THAN WITH THE WAY ITS CURRENTLY BEING DONE

As arrogant as that sounds I think its true , our tactics are lousy to only be getting 1% , I think its not hard to improve on what we do, because what we do is so ineffective
 
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