A UK farming industry group has dismissed veganism as an Instagram-propelled “fad”.
A new report by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) urges livestock producers not to panic about the rapid rise of veganism, many of whose recent followers, it says, reject animal products as “a badge of identity or a tribal marker, much like identifying . . . as a ‘gym bro’ or ‘craft beer nerd’”.
In its report AHDB comments: “By claiming their credentials as a vegan, young people believe this shows the world they are ethical, healthy and environmentally aware . . . They have taken to Instagram to follow vegan celebrities and lifestyle bloggers such as Big (sic) Gay Vegan and Deliciously Ella. In fact, the growth of veganism has partially been fuelled by the growth in Instagram.”
“They have taken to Instagram to follow vegan celebrities and lifestyle bloggers… In fact, the growth of veganism has partially been fuelled by the growth in Instagram”
The report, entitled The Rise of Plant-based Food Products and Implications for Meat and Dairy, also suggests that plant-only diet can be unhealthy and that its environmental benefits have been exaggerated.
AHDB also tells the industry that the vegans remain a small minority, amounting to just 2% of the population. Long-term vegans are an even smaller group, it says.
AHDB says that flexitarianism and the rise of the meat-reducers is a more significant threat to the meat industry because it is embedding itself in mainstream consumer behaviour.
Vegan advocacy group the Vegan Society said the report contained “obvious bias”. A spokeswoman told The Times: A spokeswoman said: “Platforms like Instagram have helped people see veganism for what it really is: a compassion-driven attempt to live an ethical, sustainable and healthy lifestyle without contributing to animal suffering.”