Vegan activism is nothing new, of course. So much so that the FBI once sought to recruit people with the perfect "look" to infiltrate vegan potlucks. I think it's fair to say, however, that vegan activism was often centered on publicity, protest, direct action, lettuce wraps and occasional nudity—in other words, tactics that could leverage the commitment of a relatively small number of committed individuals to garner attention more broadly.
Now, however, vegans, vegetarians and animal rights activists have a new point of leverage in their push for change—they represent a significant and rapidly growing market the companies don't want to miss out on.
We reported on this yesterday in terms of 20% year-on-year growth in plant-based meat and dairy alternatives, and we've certainly seen explicitly vegetarian and vegan-focused brands benefit. But as the dollar value of the market grows, activists looking to reduce meat and dairy intake will both find themselves with new opportunity to achieve their goals, and potentially be challenged to change their tactics.Perhaps an example of where this is going is news from The Guardian that The Vegan Society is launching a major push to get vegan meal options available on major rail services. It's not exactly the kind of radical, disruptive demand that many folks associate with an (admittedly over simplified) stereotype of a vegan activist but—if successful—it could have an outsized impact in increasing the number of plant-based meals consumed.
After all, with more and more of us identifying as 'flexitarians', the availability of attractive meat and dairy-free meals will have an appeal well beyond the hardcore vegan crowd. And that availability could shift some of us further toward a full time plant-based diet too.