We live in a world of big data. When it comes to categorizing and analyzing the impact vegan lifestyles have made on the health of our global citizenry and the well-being of our planet, our big data culture becomes an unbelievable asset. Today, with climate change, COVID-19, and an obesity crisis plaguing our everyday well-being- we are seeing a massive influx of research, documentaries, and scholarly journals discussing meat and animal product reduction and the massive positive impacts stemming from this behavior. And the truth of this impact lies in the numbers.
The data is clear, the popularity of veganism is rising at unbelievable levels. In 2014, only 1% of the American population labeled themselves as vegan. Three years later that figure spiked to 6% according to statistics from the research firm GlobalData. Worldwide, we are seeing similar increases with over 75,500,000 people across the globe identifying as vegan, and 8% of the global population identifying as either vegan, vegetarian, or other related categories (WTVOX, Sentient Media).
And the reason behind this movement is simple, veganism is making a drastic impact not only on our health as a species, but also on the health of our entire world.
Plant-based products are replacing meat and dairy consumption at a rapid rate, with a growth of 29% over the past two years. Today, the plant-based product marketplace is evaluated as a multi-billion dollar industry and expectations are for valuations to reach $74.2 billion by 2027. Meat replacement products such as Beyond Meat and Impossible have become a major fixture in the consciousness of consumers today and plant-based milk products such as Myokos, Oatly, Kite Hill, and Treeline account for a major market share of the plant-based product industry. Just Egg is another popular growing brand in the plant-based sphere, utilizing a mung bean protein to create a consistency, taste profile, and nutritional value that is nearly identical to an egg- completely disrupting one of our most embedded American industries; egg production.
This growth in popularity can be directly tied to the statistics emerging on the positive effect of veganism in both our health and in relation to the wellbeing of the planet. A 2018 study from Oxford University found that the best way to impact the planet positively is to avoid animal products entirely and a 2010 report from the United Nations declared that a global move to a plant-based diet will become necessary in counteracting worldwide starvation, fuel poverty, and the most drastic impacts of climate change.
Not only does the research show that a switch to a plant-based diet creates a positive environmental impact, but it also has a startling effect on our health and lifespan. Today, vegan diets have been linked to a wide host of positive health impacts including;
- A 35% reduced risk of colon cancer
- A 23% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
- A 40% reduced risk of death from heart disease
- Longer life-span
- Significantly reduced obesity rates
In light of our current pandemic, we are also seeing an impressive correlation between veganism and the effects of the COVID-19 virus. New studies from the Adventist Health Study (AHS) have found links between an increase in BMI as the amount of animal protein in one’s diet increases. The same study found that vegans by far held the lowest BMI rates of all the study’s participants. This affects the COVID-19 crisis directly as obese individuals are considered high-risk and are therefore 113% more likely to be hospitalized with the virus, 74% more likely to land in the ICU, and 48% more likely to die from the disease.
The numbers are clear, veganism is making an enormous impact on our world and it is only becoming more and more crucial to implement the lifestyle as we continue through the COVID-19 crisis, the water shortage crisis, climate change, and other growing global concerns.
Due to the popularity of the movement, many documentaries have arisen to highlight these facts and bring the statistics to the mainstream, showing that there is considerable demand in the public consciousness for more information surrounding this topic.
GAMECHANGERS (2018)- follows the journey of James Wilks as he travels the world on a quest for the truth surrounding meat, protein, and strength- showcasing along the way elite athletes, special ops soldiers, and visionary scientists who are changing the way people think about eating and living.
KISS THE GROUND (2020) - a documentary detailing the work of activists, scientists, farms, and politicians as they work together to use the new concept of regenerative agriculture to save the planet’s topsoil.
FORK OVER KNIVES (2011)- researchers explore the possibility that people changing their diets from animal-based to plant-based can help eliminate or control diseases like cancer and diabetes.
COWSPIRACY (2014)- the shocking, yet humorous, journey of an aspiring environmentalist as he daringly seeks to find the real solution to the most pressing environmental issues of our time and find a true path to sustainability.
Besides serving as a powerful resource for environmental and health statistics in reference to the plant-based movement, these documentaries show that there is an increasing shift of attention towards veganism in the social attention of our world. These shifts are occurring because the data is proving something fundamental; that the way we eat and live shapes our happiness and the well-being of the world around us.
When we look inside the numbers, we inevitably see a set of truths. Our world is hurting, and our health as a species is suffering as well. The solution lies in front of us, it lies in the reams of data and statistics that are currently being collected by the thousands of experts working diligently to help us create a happier, cleaner, and more sustainable existence.
And again it all comes down to one simple term; consciousness. Because at Conscious Market, we believe deeply that it is the decisions we make day in and day out that will ultimately shift the tides of our trajectory not only as humans but as a part of a greater world around us.