In what seems like just a few years’ time, veganism has grown to almost becoming the norm in many countries like the US and UK. Such is the popularity of the plant-based diet.
Did you know that in the UK it is predicted that vegans could total a quarter of the British population by 2025 (the number quadrupled between 2016 to 2018, to a staggering 600,000!)?
Meanwhile, according to Meticulous Research, the plant-based food market in Europe is expected to grow by 10% a year from 2022 to 2029, to reach 16.7 billion US dollars by 2029.
Across many developed countries, people are generally getting healthier, getting better vitamin intake via health supplements, exercising more, and eating the right foods – including opting for exclusive vegan diets.
There are many reasons for the rise of veganism across the world, which are personal to each individual who decided to make the transition to a plant-based diet, ranging from animal welfare to environmental impacts, and health reasons.
The popularity of veganism has now garnered so much attention, including from businesses and leading brands. While once a vegan meal would’ve consisted of a jacket potato and beans, today the options are limitless, with options like jackfruit burgers and vegan sausage rolls being produced and sold by many businesses.
But besides big brands and small businesses, there’s also another contributing factor at play that is helping shape the vegan market: celebrity influence.
Celebrity Investments in the Vegan Market
Modern society places a lot of emphasis on the influence of those in the limelight, with many people today following various trends endorsed by celebrities, whether it’s fitness, fashion, or dietary preferences.
For example, back in 2020 Bryan Adams was forced to apologize after facing backlash over an Instagram rant condemning the wet markets in China and animal cruelty. But it is clear where this influential personality’s stand, together with the bulk of his fans and followers, lies.
Celebrities supporting the vegan movement in the right way are shaping the vegan market. Reports show that bacon is the meat that most meat eaters would miss if they went vegetarian or vegan. It’s no surprise that vegan brands have emerged to address this finding, like Outstanding Foods which has cooked up a storm with Pig Out snacks.
Pig Out is a plant-based alternative to pork rinds made with mushrooms, sunflower oil, sea salt, and other vegan components. The snack has been getting public endorsements and investment from A-list celebrities, including Snoop Dogg, Jared Followill, Alexandra Paul, Emily Deschanel, Cesar Milan, Dierks Bentley, and Alan Cunning.
Designed to replicate the lingering salty and crispy flavour of bacon, Pig Out is a healthier alternative, ideal for both vegans, vegetarians, and health conscious millennial ‘flexitarians’ who are looking to cut down on their meat consumption.
Outstanding Foods described Snoop’s investment as indicating ‘a new era for the brand, and by extension vegan brands like it, with the rapper launching a dedicated website to sell the snack.
Game Changers: Celebrity Vegan Advocates
Academy award-winning film-maker James Cameron has been on the forefront of educating the public about the “Plant-based advantage,” setting out to expose myths and misconceptions around the vegan diet with the Netflix’s TV show The Game Changers.
As a long-time environmental advocate, Cameron went vegan in 2011 to lower his carbon footprint, while also finding that his health improved too. According to the film, plant-based diet can help reduce measures of inflammation by 29 percent in just three weeks (29).
The documentary offers a fresh take on veganism by considering the effects of eating meat and dairy. Where previous documentaries have targeted the ethics and emotions of animal lovers and environmentalists, The Game Changers changes the script and targets a different demographic — health conscious consumers and athletes.
The documentary reports that meat, fish, eggs, and dairy can hinder athletic performance, damage our hearts, impair sexual function, and shorten our life span. A lot more people are becoming ‘plant curious’ after watching this documentary, which has helped spark the debate around health.
Iconic and inspirational athletes such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and medical professionals such as the former president of the American College of Cardiology Dr Kim Williams, as well as founder of the Preventative Medicine Research Institute Dr Dean Ornish are on record explaining their reasons for going vegan and how this has legitimately improved their lives.
“The previous documentaries in some ways paved the way for this.” says Damian Soong, CEO and co-founder of Form Nutrition, a vegan nutrition brand. “There is now a greater acceptance and awareness of climate change, and the impact of industrial farming, and the press around meat means it’s very much in the public consciousness.”
Cameron has also teamed up with director Peter Jackson to develop plant-based protein from alfalfa to provide New Zealand with vegan opportunities to mitigate the country’s struggling farming industry.
Brands Championing the Vegan Cause
Celebrities like Snoop Dogg and Miley Cyrus are championing the vegan cause strongly by setting up pioneering companies and brands to impact positive change in the vegan market.
Snoop Dogg and BeyondMeat
As well as Outstanding Foods, the award-winning rapper has taken an interest in plant-based foods lately, investing in vegan burger brand Beyond Meat.
Beyond Meat’s share prices dropped in 2017, but was given a boost by Snoop. Beyond Meat collaborated with Dunkin’ Donuts to create the eye-catching Beyond D-O-Double G Sandwich — a Beyond Meat patty on a layer of egg, American cheese, sandwiched in a glazed doughnut, which resulted in the company’s share price rising by more than 20%.
Although this burger is vegetarian rather than vegan, it shows how celebrity endorsement can help pave the way for a meat-free world and help provide a meat-free alternative for flexitarians looking to cut down, just like Snoop. More meat-free burgers for us!
Miley Cyrus and Her Vegan Footwear
Miley Cyrus has supported many vegan brands over the years since becoming plant-based, following a string of strict diets to solve her gluten and lactose intolerance.
In 2014, the star cut out meat and dairy products altogether, and was seen sporting footwear from the Bristol-based vegan and fair trade shoe brand Collection & Co who handmake their footwear from recycled materials and synthetic waste.
Cyrus released her own vegan Converse collection line of vegan shoes and apparel, designed by the singer and actress “right down to the super cute shoelaces.”
She not only highlighted the importance of vegan food, but also advocated for ethical fashion with vegan Converse and helping to shed light on the importance issue that animal products used in clothing are often not ethically or reliably collected.
Although it reported that Miley Cirus gave up being vegan in favor of pescetarianism (eating fish but not meat), when reading her reasoning (and the reasoning of other celebrities who given up being vegan), it is important to remember that the issues that motivate this change can most likely be solved without adding meat or fish into your diet.
When it comes to a healthy, nutritious diet, you will always find plant-based food options that are rich in and provide the nutrients your body needs. All you need to do is adequate research and speak with a dietitian to find plant-based foods that'll provide all you need to stay strong and healthy. Giving up being vegan often has nothing to do with deficiencies in plant-based foods.
That being said, with high profile celebrity endorsements like those, vegan brands and the vegan movement are getting their names out there, while celebrity investment is helping vegan brands to develop their products further by creating more innovative and healthy plant-based foods. It could very well be that vegan brands and vegan diets are the future.