Vegan Produce Is Changing the Way We Shop in Supermarkets

A pinch of this, and a spoonful of that; bring it to the boil for this week’s round-up of all the vegan news.

 

Vegan produce is changing the way we shop in supermarkets

The Guardian

Fresh off the success of Veganuary, where it is estimated 120,000 people went vegan to start the new year, comes the perhaps inevitable news that supermarkets are reporting record sales of their vegan produce. From the Wicked Kitchen range at Tesco to the vegan selection of wines at the Co-op, sales are up up up. What may have looked like a trend in the past has become mainstream as some of the biggest companies seek to attract vegan customers.

Bailey’s, Pizza Express and Ben and Jerry’s have all adapted their practices to include vegan options on the supermarket shelves. And it looks to be a viable business option as the Vegan Society claim that more than half of UK adults are now adopting “vegan buying behaviour”. As awareness grows around the impact of bringing animal products to the market, the shift towards animal-friendly products can only be a good thing, even if not all the shoppers are fully signed-up members of the cause yet.

 

Attempts to dismiss the vegan movement as ‘militant’ trivialise the importance of the message we are sending

Janet Street Porter for The Independent

It’s hasn’t all been good news on the vegan front this week as some columnists tried to denounce vegan activists as “militant” and “evangelist”; aligning the movement to hostility and condemnation. After vegan and animal rights activist Joey Armstrong appeared on Radio 2 to talk about the damaging impact of the dairy industry on the environment and cattle, many were outraged when Armstrong commented on host Jeremy Vine’s lunch contained which lay out on the table, noting that his sandwich contained “the dead body of an animal that didn’t want to die.”

Speaking the truth should hardly be dismissed as “militant” behaviour, but in this column by Janet Street Porter, this comment is talked of in the same category as issuing death threats to a dairy farmer. While it is difficult to defend aggressive threats to peoples’ lives, the reality of the cruelty involved in bringing a ham and cheese sandwich to the shelves needs to be known, especially when broadcasting on national radio to people who may not have considered the issue. When meat and dairy is marketed as friendly and innocuous, it takes some brave humans to bring the reality of forced inseminations to light in order to make people think before making purchases in the future.

 

Why the ‘us-and-them’ dichotomy is a natural predisposition that can be overcome

Jonathan William Beaton for Plant Based News

It is possible that the world will one day live on only plant-based meals, shunning the factory-farmed garbage that has dominated for the last twenty years? Possibly. But for now, there is a vegan/non-vegan divide around our dinner tables and in our social circles. In this article, Jonathon William Beaton tries to square the circle the binary and often combative perspectives.

Citing a psychological phenomenon known as ‘ingroup-outgroup bias’, Beaton argues that it becomes easy to conceive of out groups as all the same, while viewing your own group as diverse and composing of a spectrum of individuals. For both sides of the vegan/non-vegan divide, it is important to move away from the us-and-them’ dynamic in order to find common ground and understanding. This depersonalisation process allows us to ‘other’ people or groups, making it more justifiable in our own minds to disregard their perspective.

Understanding is needed to appreciate that vegans should not be aligned to militantism, and likewise that not all dairy farmers can be dismissed as rapists.

 

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