Is Veganism an ‘Instagram Fad’? The Meat Industry Seems to Think So

When meat executives get scared, they commission studies to find out why people are turning away from animal flesh. The latest investigation has just been released, and you’ll probably find some of its conclusions amusing.

The UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, or AHDB, is an organization funded to support farmers and growers. The group issued a report called “The Rise of Plant-Based Food Products and Implications for Meat and Dairy,” purporting to review the factors that have led to such intense interest in plant-based foods.

There’s an incredible variety of plant-based products in supermarkets these days. They’re popular, and they’re taking up more and more shelf space. Consumers are turning away from meat and dairy and buying these products instead. The dairy and meat industries are right to be concerned — they’re losing customers at an increasing pace.

Because of this, “industry is being urged to look at new and innovative ways to market meat and dairy products and work together throughout the supply chain to stay in favour with consumers,” says the press release accompanying the report.

Vegans, did you ever wonder why you stopped eating animal products? You thought you knew why, but this report will tell you. It claims that — among younger vegans, at least — a big motivator is being cool within your community.

The report asserts:

Among younger people, veganism has become a badge of identity or a tribal marker, much as identifying as other youth tribes such as ‘gym bro’ or ‘craft beer nerd’…. By claiming their credentials as a vegan, young people believe this shows the world they are ethical, healthy and environmentally aware…

The report goes on to note that apparently, a love of social media — and Instagram, in particular — drives our choice to eat a plant-based diet:

[Vegans] have taken to Instagram to follow vegan celebrities and lifestyle bloggers such as [Fat] Gay Vegan and Deliciously Ella. In fact, the growth of veganism has partially been fuelled by the growth in Instagram.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not vegan to be some kind of hipster or to fit in to a sisterhood of like-minded cool kids.  I don’t need vegan “street cred.”

I’m vegan because I don’t want to harm animals or pay anyone else to do it for me. I see what the world does to these innocent creatures — and it breaks my heart. I’m doing as much as I can to ensure that no animal suffers because of my need for food, clothing or entertainment.

When I post something of a vegan nature on social media, I do so with the hope someone else might be inspired to try veganism too. I hope to dispel the myth that vegan foods are unenjoyable or somehow less tasty than eating animals. I also hope to open my meat-eating friends’ eyes to the suffering their dietary choices cause.

The report props up the inaccurate notion that a plant-based way of eating is difficult to maintain on a permanent basis. It also incorrectly asserts that many nutrients found in meat and dairy are harder to get from plants.

Really? Aren’t we just filtering nutrients from plants through an animal before we consume it? Is this is old “where’s the protein” question yet again?

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Before making such odd assertions, check with a few plant-based medical experts like Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Michael Greger, Dr. Kim Williams, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and so many more. They know what’s healthy and what’s not.

The meat and dairy industries try hard to keep their customers, and it’s not getting any easier for them. Meat producers like to assert publicly that veganism isn’t here to stay and that most people will be eating animal products for the foreseeable future.

That’s a bold statement in the face of contrary health information. Vegan food choices are now considered mainstream, not outliers. Plant-based eating is demonstrably better for the human body, better for the environment and certainly better for the animals.

The word is out. If we’re going to feed this world going forward, change will have to come.

Photo Credit: Lily Banse/Unsplash


Lorrie O
Lorrie O2 months ago

The very criminal, the dairy criminal: Thief of Hearts. Halloween we(e)ned from Udder Mutter: Kindness, Kindness, Kindness.

Ruth S
Ruth S2 months ago


Thomas M
Past Member 3 months ago

Thank you

JoAnn P
JoAnn P3 months ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

hELEN h4 months ago


AL L4 months ago

I'm over 30 and never been cool. Being vegan to me is the only way to live. Be compassionate, consume only what you need.

Christine Stewart
Christine S4 months ago

The hideous cruelty that is allowed in the livestock industry should be enough to convince most people to go vegan- it is not a fad, but a worthwhile attempt to stop the cruelty against animals.

michela c
michela c4 months ago

Veganism is NOT a fad, it's an ETHICAL choice against cruelty toward animals and to respect the environment.

Peggy B
Peggy B4 months ago


Peggy B
Peggy B4 months ago

I've been a vegetarian for 54 Years. In the last 20 years I've noticed more and more places to eat out and in the last 10 years more and more options in the stores. It's not a fad.