When Industrialization Meets VeganismMichael Haase6. April 2018
Vegan processed products symbolize everything that is wrong with the food industry: businesses attempting to profit off of consumers trying to do good for themselves and the environment by reducing their meat consumption. Through the mass production and industrialization of vegan products in attempts to capitalize on this growing market, such businesses have de-naturalized vegan foods and diminished arguably the whole essence of veganism for consumers.
The Growing Trend
In terms of the trend, Veganism is hot, and the Danes have caught on. The plant fox is being torn away from the shelves of Net, and Coop Analysis measures a doubling of the number of Danes eating whole or partially vegetarian since 2013. Beyond Denmark too, the number of vegans in the UK rose by more than 360% in the last 10 years. According to Manjunath Reddy, a lead analyst at Technavio for food research, “A new wave of consumers, especially millennials aged between 20 and 34 years, prefer vegan foods owing to their concern toward animal welfare and environment-friendly food products.”
Despite the positive growth however, there are many problems with the approach of the vegan industry as big businesses have started investing in the growing market. Green food IS healthy and good for the environment, but in terms of the production process, the Danes have been prevented from planting and growing products naturally because of the dominating commercialism and industrialism; in other words, the industry’s focus on profit and mass production has disabled people from growing and producing the right way, naturally and in a wholesome manner. In general, unlike naturally growing foods, processing often strips foods of all the good fibers, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in the raw foods in order to make them shelf-stable and thus, more “convenient” for the consumer. Unfortunately though, this approach is predicted to only keep growing, with forecasts predicting the global packaged vegan foods market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of close to 11% through 2020.
What To Do
That being said, it’s important to be aware and level headed to properly navigate the vegan industry and avoid succumbing to their quick easy solutions, such as the highly-processed plant-based meat replacements. This domination of processed foods and overall approach to eating vegan originates from the American food culture, where ‘convenience’ is the king, but we must not let these American-inspired food industry habits influence us.
Does Denmark really need to copy fast-food USA? Can we do better?
Be a viking – free yourself from processed food and make your own. Denmark’s gastronomic profile has evolved from Serie 5 to the Champions League in the last 15 years, and the Michelin stars are littered beyond the Danish landscape. Now is the time for the Danish gastronomy to blow into the home.
Let’s show a healthier, more sustainable and healthier way to plant-based food. A road that strikes a long bow outside of the meat-replacing factories.
This is an appeal to the beautiful proud Danes who have chosen to reduce their meat consumption: Make real food based on vegetables instead of buying the processed and packaged junk. Treat your body, taste buds, and the world better, by making it yourself!