The Glamorous Side of Plant-Based
It’s no secret that plant-based food is becoming mainstream. Whether it’s college campuses cutting beef from cafeteria menus or governments adopting the Meat Free Monday movement, plant-based food is no longer hiding in the closet. But in the past year plant-based food has taken center stage in some of the most high-profile events and venues on the planet, recognized mainly for its environmental and ethical advantages.
Plant-based in the spotlight
Companies focusing on producing meat substitutes seem to be sprouting everywhere these days. Probably the one that made the biggest bang is Beyond Meat, that opened Wall Street with a high-profile IPO in May 2019, and saw its shares skyrocket immediately. Have you tried the Beyond Burger yet? I have, and it’s, well, meaty… But if that’s not center-stage enough for you, then last year’s Grammy awards went big on vegan food, stocking every food station at the event with delicious vegan options. And to top it all, the 2019 92nd Academy Awards went entirely, 100% plant-based, recognizing the positive environmental impact of a vegan diet! What was just as encouraging is that there was a sweeping voice of support for this decision both in the media and by the participants in the ceremony. And if Lady Gaga and Brad Pitt can be delighted by 100% plant-based delicacies, I think there should remain no doubt that plant-based food doesn’t have to be bland or boring. Now we have another reason to make it to next year’s Oscars…
Last year’s Academy Awards ceremony was also where the most astonishing call to go vegan in recent memory took place. If you haven’t seen Joaquin Phoenix’s acceptance speech, where he advocated in tears our duty to be more ethical toward our fellow non-human animals, join millions of others who’ve watched it on youtube. Phoenix has been a long-time advocate or animal rights, but this must be by far the biggest stage on which his voice on the topic has ever been heard. And we shouldn’t be surprised if others will follow.
So what have we had in the past year? The plant-based meat substitute market exploding with a high-profile IPO and huge investment from giants such as Bill Gates; the most glamorous ceremonies on the planets switching to plant-based to raise a voice for the environment; The Joker showing his soft side and siding with the animals; and let’s not forget the worst pandemic in a century originating from a wildlife market (see here for the connection between COVID-19 and a plant-based diet). Less grandiose but still meaningful were a prime-time commercial advocating veganism in Israel (a moving 1-min watch here), and one of the favorite youtube channels in JP, Nakata atsuhiko’s youtube University, coming out with 2 videos on veganism. That’s a lot for one year, and a great beacon of light in the otherwise quite grim 2020. But the momentum is only picking up, and we’re excited to be part of this revolution that’s sweeping the world.
What big bang is going to happen next?
I believe that animals are here to share the Earth with us, not to satisfy our desires. This led me to drop meat from my menu at an early age. In 2011, after learning about the process involved in the production of eggs and dairy, I started researching about veganism and decided to become plant-based. As I continue to learn and experiment, I still marvel at the many benefits that a plant-based lifestyle offers. I’ve lectured in schools about animal welfare and I hope that through veggino, we can help people in Japan explore this life-changing journey. The number of plant-based people worldwide has been skyrocketing in recent years, and it’s Japan’s turn now!