When you think of France, you probably think of fine dining and over-the-top meat-heavy meals, like foie gras and steak-frites. But according to a recent article in Bloomberg, veganism and animal rights are on the rise in France.
Meat sales have steadily declined in the meat-centric country for the past two decades, partly because of concerns for the environment, animal welfare, and health. In fact, a study by research institute Xerfi published last year found the number of French consumers looking to reduce their meat consumption had reached 30 percent and was expected to continue to grow.
What’s more, sales of plant-based protein in supermarkets surged by 82 percent to about 30 million euros in 2016 and are set to increase by another 25 percent a year through 2020.
Geoffroy Le Guilcher, author of a book on slaughterhouses and publisher of another on animal rights activism, said:
French consumers are finally waking up, decades after everybody else. A new generation of activists is making people realize that even in the land of meat, there is very little that makes the case for having it.
People all around the world are ditching animal products in droves. A recent survey by comparethemarket.com and Gresham College professor Carolyn Roberts revealed the number of vegan U.K. residents had spiked over the past two years. In fact, the data shows that around 3.5 million now identify as vegan, a whopping 7 percent of the total U.K. population.
Similarly, Australia is seeing an increase in plant-based diets. According to the Food Revolution Network, between 2014 and 2016, the number of food products launched in Australia carrying a vegan claim rose by 92 percent.
Germany is also one of the fastest-growing places for veganism, in large part because of the country’s interest in animal welfare and environmental protection. A 2016 study based on 2008–2011 data estimated that 4.3 percent of Germans between 18 and 79 identified as vegetarian, with the majority between 18 and 29. Compare that to 3.3 percent of the U.S. population.
The wave of people ditching animal products in favor of a healthy, sustainable, and compassionate vegan diet is impossible to ignore. The research firm Global Data reports that veganism in America increased by 600 percent between 2014 and 2017, and Allied Market Research predicts that the meat substitute market will grow 8.4 percent from 2015, potentially reaching $5.2 billion globally by 2020.
But why is veganism suddenly everywhere? It’s part of a cultural shift toward more just and sustainable practices. Over the past decade, veganism has seen consistent growth as millennials—now the world’s largest generation—purchase their own food. Concerned about health, the environment, and animal welfare, this generation boasts more self-identifying vegetarians than any other, according to The New York Times.
More people enjoying vegan food is great news for the billions of animals who suffer at factory farms. Cows, pigs, chickens, and fish raised and killed for food are subjected to unthinkable cruelties: tiny, filthy cages; horrific mutilations; and violent slaughter.
Sounds horrible, right? See for yourself.
Thankfully, with more and more delicious vegan products hitting the market, there’s truly never been a better time to switch to a compassionate vegan lifestyle.