Three Jolly Kittens at the Feast

Most Vegan Thanksgiving Ever? Not Exactly

Axios has declared that we are having our most vegan Thanksgiving ever. It sounds like a good story. They made us look. But the story is not exactly true. In short, while we may be drifting toward more food from plants on the table, we are not making a headlong rush toward veganism.

Has Peak Vegan Come and Gone?

Google Trends: U.S. Interest in VeganIn fact, Google Trends data suggest that U.S. interest in “vegan” may have peaked in 2017. Since then, the volume of searches for information about all things vegan has dropped by about 25 percent.

Does this mean that vegan food trends are dead? Hardly. The more careful description of Sentient Media rings true. They write that “as an idea, veganism is growing in popularity and visibility,” but the numbers of people who identify themselves as vegan really isn’t growing much. It’s a challenging dietary pattern to fully adopt.

Nonetheless, vegan-ish foods keep growing in popularity. Public sentiment seems to be drifting toward more plants and a bit less meat in our diets.

Nonetheless, Turkey Is Fading

Perhaps you’ve been reading that demand for turkey this year is strong and thus prices are up. That factoid might give the impression that we’re eating more turkey than ever, but it’s a false one.

The fact is that turkey production is down about two percent this year. Since 2017, it’s down six percent.

So this Thanksgiving will likely give more plants a place on our plates. It might not be the most vegan Thanksgiving ever, but it’s a good bet that it’s more plant-based than it’s been in recent memory.

Some of the hype for ultra-processed plant-based foods gives us pause. But the trend favoring plant-based food runs deeper than that smoke and mirrors game. The environmental case for more plants and less meat seems solid. So the drift toward more plants and less meat will likely continue. And thus, we will do well to embrace a bigger place for plants on the plates for our seasonal feasts.

Click here for the Axios story on a more vegan Thanksgiving and here for more on the environmental impact of what we eat.

The Three Jolly Kittens at the Feast, illustration by Currier and Ives / WikiArt

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November 25, 2021

One Response to “Most Vegan Thanksgiving Ever? Not Exactly”

  1. November 25, 2021 at 10:46 pm, Chester Draws said:

    The environmental case for less red meat is mostly made by people who have minimal idea how farming works outside of TV.

    There are large parts of the world which are unsuited to growing plants. They are too dry, too isolated, too hilly, the soil is too thin etc. That is where beef and sheep are farmed most cheaply. Stopping meat farming in those places won’t help feed the world, because they are uneconomic to grow crops on.

    Every now and then some nutcase thinks that turning grazing land into farming land would be a good idea. And we get the dust bowl (and the Soviets even managed to repeat the exact same mistake, when Stalin ordered the steppes to be ploughed). Moving from grazing to farming caused massive environmental degradation, the exact reverse of the Green argument.

    Plus red meat is a really effective source of nutrients. Sure, it can be consumed to excess, but that doesn’t mean it is inherently unhealthy.