In the US, the number of vegans has risen by 600% in the last three years, according to a report by research company Global Data, and in the UK has quadrupled between 2014 and 2018 according to Mintel. In response to growing demand, major supermarkets like Tesco, Asda and Waitrose introduced plant-based and vegan product lines in 2018. A tidal wave of fast food behemoths are also releasing vegan options – in April 2019, Burger King announced plans to roll out the meatless Impossible Whopper nationally, following White Castle’s partnership with vegan Impossible Meats in September 2018, while Del Taco began serving Beyond Meat tacos in April 2019 and Carl’s Jr. added Beyond Meat vegan patties to their menu in January 2019.
There’s no denying it: the vegan diet is solidly entrenched in mainstream culture. Recently, the rocketing popularity of meat- and cruelty-free foods has translated into an explosion of vegan-friendly fashion, with a stream of luxury designers pledging to go fur-free, popular brands adopting innovative alternatives to leather and the first ever vegan fashion week hosted in Los Angeles in February 2019.
But now, veganism is gaining traction in farther-flung sectors like hospitality and interior design, as the movement grows into an all-encompassing lifestyle. “The products that we surround ourselves with will get to the stage where food is now,” said Don Kwaning, whose lino leather provides a vegan substitute for leather upholstery.