5 Achievements for Vegans from 2017

It has been one heck of a year. While it would be easy to count the ways we’ve had our hearts broken by tragedies, reminding ourselves of the forward strides that have been made is essential.

The 2017 year has made especially large waves in the vegan movement, from small businesses gaining popularity to mainstream celebs making the switch. Here is a quick look back at 2017 and all the progress made toward a world more accepting of the vegan lifestyle.

1) Meat-like (but meat-less) burgers are taking over

This year we saw an explosion in the availability and popularity of two major meatless innovations: The Beyond Burger and The Impossible Burger. The former debuted in a few Whole Foods stores in 2016 but now appears in the meat cases of 350 more Whole Foods, 850 Safeway stores, 500 Krogers and hundreds of other grocers—not to mention a few T.G.I.Fridays and over 100 Burger Fi locations. And the sky is the limit for Beyond Meat after bringing on Leonardo DiCaprio as an investor, who joins the ranks of Bill Gates, Biz Stone and Evan Williams of Twitter fame, Tyson Foods executives, and the HSUS.

The Impossible Burger, for now only available in restaurants, has taken over 250 different eateries across the country, including the popular concept spots Bareburger, Umami Burger, Hopdoddy, The Counter, Fatburger, Gott’s and Chef Michael Symon’s B Spot. Several restaurants have reported it is even outselling conventional cow burgers!

2) Plant-based documentaries are in the spotlight

In the spring of this year filmmaker Kip Anderson released his health-related follow-up to the popular environmental doc Cowspiracy. The doc What the Health is beloved by some and reviled by others—but the impact the film had on viewers who were previously unaware of how the Standard American Diet affects their health cannot be minimized.

The vibrations caused by What the Health have allowed for other plant-based documentaries to enter the spotlight, as well. Eating You Alive, which came out in 2016, is enjoying more time in the sun and excitement for the upcoming Game Changers documentary (produced by James Cameron) can hardly be contained.

3) Vegan celebrities are multiplying

More and more well-known celebrities are trying out plant-based living and enjoying the results. Especially interesting is the wave of NBA (Kyrie Irving, Jahlil Okafor, JaVale McGee, etc) and NFL athletes (Tom Brady, Theo Riddick, Bennie Fowler, etc) who are making the transition.

Not only are sports stars making the switch, but popular actors and actresses are giving plant-based a try, too. Laverne Cox, Danielle Brooks and Ruby Rose from the cast of Orange is the New Black are giving plants a chance, as well as Rainn Wilson and Craig Robinson from The Office.

4) Distribution of plant-based products is skyrocketing

Just like 2016 saw Tyson Foods invest in Beyond Meat (see #1 for how this affected the brand’s presence and growth), this year saw other acquisitions. Just this month the popular meat alternative brand Field Roast was purchased by Canadian meat company Maple Leaf. The same company also acquired Lightlife earlier this year, a brand popular for their smokey tempeh bacon. The CEO said these acquisitions align with their goal of becoming “leaders in sustainability.” Keep an eye out for more visibility for these products in the near future.

5) Local lawmakers are recognizing the importance of plant-based eating

“Cutting back a little on meat will help make our City healthier and our planet stronger for generations to come,” NYC Mayor Bill DiBlasio said this year during an announcement that 15 Brooklyn schools will participate in Meatless Mondays early next year. The decision is huge news, especially for the goal of making students’ meals healthier in general. It is estimated that less than 20 percent of kids aged 6-12 in New York City ate at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies in a day. With these gradual changes, that number will surely improve.

This year has seen monumental changes for the health of people, the planet and animals. How do you think 2018 will stack up?

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Photo credit: Thinkstock


Lesa D
Lesa DiIorio2 months ago

baby steps...

thank you, Katie...

maria reis
maria reis2 months ago

Its very good for us, for the planet and for the animals.

Elaine W
Elaine W3 months ago

Good to hear about this progress.

Ilona S
Ilona S3 months ago

Thank you

Ann B
Ann B3 months ago

the word is out and it is spreading:)

Olivia H
Past Member 3 months ago

Good info. Thanks.

Sandro H
Sandro H3 months ago

Informative article, thanks.

Renata Kovacs
Renata Kovacs3 months ago

Thank you for sharing..

Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara3 months ago

We do need some meat and large tracts of the world are not suitable for crops as there is not enough water. But animals can graze the tough grasses and shrubs and people can eat the meat or milk the animals.

Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara3 months ago

In Ireland all the dairy cows graze green grass most of the year, only housed in bad weather. This is a very green way to produce milk.