I was working on an article this week that brought me back to this story from last December. Right before the turn of the year, The Economist predicted that 2019 would be “The Year of the Vegan.” Their piece made such a splash it was covered by multiple outlets; everyone was waiting to see if the new year would truly usher in a vegan era.
And while the world isn’t vegan yet, the first few months of 2019 have been pretty extraordinary for veganism. From the corporate world to city and state legislatures, society is making pretty big changes that will directly affect how animals are treated by us.
Here are 11 milestones just so far this year:
1. Veganuary Breaks Records
This year, the Veganuary campaign smashed it’s previous records signing up over a quarter million participants in 190 countries around the globe! A post survey revealed that animal welfare concerns was a major reason people took part in the month-long vegan challenge, and a whopping 98% of those surveyed said they’d recommend doing Veganuary to friends.
2. Burger King Does The Impossible
Just a couple months ago, Burger King shook the fast food world when it announced it was upgrading it’s classic Whopper sandwich using Impossible’s plant-based burger patty. The Impossible Whopper, initially tested in St. Louis, was such a hit Burger King announced it would be expanding it to its restaurants nationwide.
McDonald’s is also looking to get into the vegan meat market. Though the fast food giant has not announced any plans for the U.S. yet, they’re testing vegan burgers in Germany and Australia. They also started serving vegan McNuggets in Norway this past March. And their McVegan burger, which was tested in Finland and Sweden, is now permanently on the menu in those countries.
4. H&M Ditches Cashmere
Following the release of PETA’s undercover footage from cashmere farms in China and Mongolia, the major fashion label announced it was dropping cashmere from all future collections.
5. Prada Dumps Fur
Just this past week, the haute couture label announced it was discontinuing the use of fur due to ethical concerns in all future collections starting this September. Prada joins a host of other fashion houses including Versace, Armani, and Chanel in dropping fur for good.
6. Beyond Meat Goes Public
In the first week of May, Beyond Meat went public. The first plant-based meat company ever to do so, the company’s stock skyrocketed 163 percent in its first day of trading making it the best-performing IPO in nearly two decades.
7. LA Bans Fur Sales… and New York City Is Next
Back in February, Los Angeles became the largest city in the U.S. to ban the sale of fur. The ban goes into effect in 2021. Now New York City, the largest U.S. market for fur sales, is also considering a fur ban that’s being backed by lawmakers and activists alike. New York state Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal remarked, “Fur relies on violence to innocent animals. That should be no one’s business.”
8. Dairy Is Dying
In March we learned that the dairy industry lost over a billion dollars in sales in 2018 while the plant-based market continued to soar. In fact, returns on soy, rice, and almond milk are up six percent as compared to dairy milk and the plant-based dairy alternatives market, which was estimated at $11.7 billion in 2017, is expected to skyrocket to more than $34 billion by 2024!
9. Vegan Shortages
The massive demand for vegan meat and dairy has actually started leading to shortages. This article from April details how Impossible Foods had to let restaurants know it’s doing the best it can to keep up with orders, but that shortages were possible. Swedish-based oat milk producer, Oatly, faced a similar issue when it’s creamy plant-based milk took America by storm last year. Oatly is now finishing up construction on a vegan milk factory in New Jersey to keep up with demand.
10. California Inches Closer to Banning Circus Performing Animals
Just this past week, the largest state in the union unanimously passed a bill through its state senate that would ban the use of wild animals in circuses. The bill now goes to the state assembly for a vote before it lands on the governor’s desk.
11. JBS Will Launch a Plant-Based Burger this Year
JBS, the world’s largest meat producer, announced it will be launching a plant-based burger in Brazil this year. Additionally, Tyson – America’s largest meat producer – also announced plans to enter the vegan meat market back in February when it said it is planning to launch its own plant-based protein product.