It’s hard to remember the days when veganism wasn’t posted across every single social media platform. Nowadays, it has become a social phenomenon, pushing the younger generation to swap their meat-eating habits for an arguably healthier, more environmentally friendly, and considerably cheaper lifestyle.
But is being vegan really that beneficial? And are young people adopting this relatively new lifestyle for the right reasons?
Whether we like it or not, social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are a huge part of our daily routines, and posting about our daily lives is something we are all guilty of. We post anything from our most recent night out to showing off about our summer holiday in the Maldives. And with food, it’s no different. So, when some of the most influential social media stars started to post their pretty vegan food shots online, many people chose to follow suit.
But are young people following this trend because they are genuinely interested in the health implications it carries, or are they simply just scared about missing out on the latest trend?
Well, many people argue that vegans are more interested in simply making a statement, rather than actually acquiring the knowledge to state their reasoning for taking on this new life choice. Becoming vegan is now linked to gaining more likes on Instagram than saving the planet. With more and more people simply just wanting to feel like they belong, viewing veganism as a trendy way of living that is slowly creeping into mainstream society.
However, lifestyle and fitness vlogger Grace Beverley, more widely known as GraceFit UK, argues that it is much more than just a fashionable lifestyle choice. Speaking on BBC Politics back in September, she stated:
‘A lot of people obviously think that it’s a fad or it’s just some sort of fancy diet but it is so much more than that. This isn’t a hobby, it’s a lifestyle that millions of people are choosing because they care about the planet, and it’s a lifestyle that more of us should be actively encouraging’.
The social media influencer expresses that, even if young people are solely becoming vegan to keep up with latest trends, it is still helping the environment regardless:
‘Now, obviously it has a lot of benefits so even if it is a trend, it’s something that we should definitely be looking at … so I think it might be a fad for some people, it might be a trend for some people, but it’s very important to concentrate on [this]’.
She stresses further:
‘If you actually look at statistics, 18 per cent of greenhouse gases are actually contributed to by animal agricultural, so that’s more than the entire transport sector’.
If checking your social media account wasn’t enough to realise the steady increase in veganism, just take a look at the plant-based options which are now available at well-known supermarkets, as well as a range of fast food chains across the country. According to the Guardian, popular chains including Marks and Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have all extended their existing vegan ranges. More interestingly, restaurants such as Zizzi, Pizza Express and Wagamama are offering a selection of vegan meals, leaving vegans spoilt for choice.
But it is not just chain restaurants and supermarkets which are jumping on board across the UK. In London specifically, exclusive vegan restaurants are being opened left, right and centre (Check out Mildred’s, Mooshies, Young Vegans and Vurger Co, to name a few).
All in all, it appears veganism is becoming more widely accepted, and more and more people are becoming open to this idea, regardless of their personal reasons.
Simply ask yourself, if you haven’t already delved into the world of plant-based food, have you ever been tempted to try it or at least feel as though you should make an effort to go with the new social flow?
Everyday it is becoming more and more difficult to justify the reason why we still eat meat, and although primarily, people may be attracted to veganism through social media, its health implications and environmental benefits are essentially what makes this lifestyle choice so appealing.
I am yet to join this particular craze, but regardless, I don’t think we will be seeing the back of veganism anytime soon.