Veganism on the rise

By Mei-Ling McNamara

dsc_03831It’s official: veganism is the new vegetarianism.  A growing trend that shuns eating animal-sourced products is gaining momentum this month in a national awareness campaign.

Vegan Month, headed up by Animal Aid, a UK charity based in Kent, is extending its reach throughout the country in a bid to get fresh recruits to the meat-free cause.

“As vegetarianism is getting more popular and well-known, we thought it would be great to make people take that extra step towards veganism,” said Kelly Slade, Campaigns Officer at Animal Aid.

Inspired by World Vegan Day held annually on November 1, Animal Aid is encouraging people to not only go meat-free, but to take dairy products and eggs out of their diet. Throughout November, they will be hosting free food fayres across England to showcase the variety of vegan foods available.

In the 1940s, there were an estimated 150,000 vegetarians in the UK. Now there are 3 million – comprising 5% of the population. In the last 10 years, the number of vegetarians in the UK has nearly doubled.

Video: Brockley embraces national vegan trends

Amanda Baker, Media Officer for the Vegan Society said: “It is easier to be a vegan now than it has ever been.”

She rejected the myth that going vegan is a pricey, ‘middle-class’ lifestyle choice, adding:  “A balanced vegan diet can be the most cost-effective way people can eat.”

Long-time Brockley resident Nicola Davidson, 32, owns The Shop on the Hill, an establishment specialising in vegan and vegetarian groceries, sundries, books and cosmetics.

“I get a lot of my fruit and vegetables direct from the farmers, so the food is not only better ecologically, it’s cheaper,” she said. Nicola feels she is filling an important niche for meat-free products in south-east London: “A lot of the people said they really needed something like this, and it’s true – business is good”. 

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