Over the holiday weekend, our longtime friends had us over for dinner. They’re not vegan like us, but I think I can pretty confidently say they’re flexitarians, and when we eat together, they always eat vegan, too.
One thing I noticed over the years is that no matter the balance of veggies or meat products in their fridge, there was always half and half.
Well, not anymore.
As we were finishing up our meal on Saturday night, one of my friends offered to make us some lattes with her new espresso machine. Turns out she was super excited to make us a vegan lattes with her new obsession: Oatly. “Have you heard of it?” she asked. GURL.
She told us that after years of trying plant-based milks on and off, Oatly finally got her to kick half and half to the curb. In fact, she actually prefers it. They both do.
This is not the first time I’ve heard this from someone who isn’t vegan. Whether it be the milk in their coffee or the burgers on their grill, people are choosing plant-based alternatives because, quite frankly, they’re just better.
I’m not just talking about how these things taste. The truth is vegan versions of animal-based foods are better for our health, the environment, and of course, the animals. People are starting to get this and, as vegan alternatives improve, it’s changing the way people eat.
The numbers don’t lie. Oat milk sales alone grew 50 percent between 2017 and 2018 and are expected to double again this year. But that’s not all. The Dairy Farmers of America reported that milk sales plummeted by $1.1 billion. And according to the USDA, more than 2,700 dairy farms closed their doors for good. Meanwhile, the plant-based dairy alternative market is booming.
You can’t deny that change is in the air when the most successful IPO of the year is a vegan meat company; or when KFC has lines around the block of people waiting to try their first-ever vegan chicken menu item.
My friend switching to oat milk might seem like a small thing, but when millions and millions of Americans are doing the same, suddenly those small changes become a sea change. This might not be the year my friend goes vegan, but it is the year she stopped buying half and half.