Make it easy and delicious for people to do right by animals and more of them will. The proof? Surging sales of plant-based foods, more vegan options at restaurants (including an upcoming “chicken” burger at Burger King) and 400 new choices at Disneyland, California’s oldest dairy switches from cows to almonds as the dairy industry loses another billion dollars to alternatives, and NYC bans foie gras.
Burger King is having its best quarter in years and executives are crediting the Impossible Whopper, with overall sales nearly 30% when the Impossible Whopper rolled out nationwide. In response, Burger King is launching two new plant-based burgers across Europe, often a precursor to the U.S., including a vegan “chicken” sandwich.
The success of the Impossible Whopper has not gone unnoticed. Virtually all major fast food outlets look set to have plant-based options now or in the near future, including McDonald’s, Carl’s Jr., KFC, Del Taco, Taco Bell, Red Robin, Bareburger, White Castle, Chipotle, Habit Burger, Shake Shack, Qdoba, and more. The one holdout appears to be Wendy’s. The loss will be theirs. As KFC noted when it test marketed “Kentucky fried plant-based chicken,” people have been demanding it from fast food restaurants and those restaurants “have been happy to oblige, and pleased with the results.” Even Disneyland has announced 400 new vegan options at the Magic Kingdom.
As I predicted in All American Vegan, my cookbook, if you make it easy and convenient for people to choose plant-based options, more people will. And that prediction has borne out. “A 2018 [industry] report… found that more than 30% of Americans have meat-free days, more than 50% of adults drink non-dairy milk and about 83% are adding more plant-based foods to their diets.”
Not surprisingly, California’s oldest dairy, which has been in business for 125 years, is switching from cow’s milk to almond, in response to growing demand for plant-based products. In 2018, the dairy industry lost another billion dollars to plant-based milks.
Indeed, a global food industry research firm is also predicting that in the next 20 years, 60% of the world’s meat will NOT come from slaughtered animals. Instead, it will come from plant-based meat analogues and meat grown in labs from cultured cells. And they say, that is a very conservative estimate. The percentage is likely to be significantly higher.
Driving the demand is not only health and environmental concerns, but animal welfare. From the moment they are born to the moment their necks are slit, the vast majority of animals raised and killed for food will experience lives of unremitting torment. They will not know contentment, respite, safety, happiness, or kindness. Instead, they will live a short life characterized by inescapable discomfort, social deprivation, the thwarting of every natural instinct and constant stress, all punctuated by moments of agonizing pain, terror, and the deliberate infliction upon them of harm, cruelty and eventually, a brutal and untimely death. In fact, New York City joined the State of California by enacting a (phased-in) ban of foie gras because of cruelty concerns, telling over 1,000 NYC restaurants to drop it from their menus.
Onward and upward…
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