This week McDonalds have trialled the ‘McVegan’ burger in Finland, citing promising results. Anyone who isn’t Finnish, hoping to get their hands on a McVegan burger, should keep their fingers crossed for good sales.

Veganism has increased 360% in the UK since 2010, and 500% in the US since 2014. There is no doubt that this way of life, and indeed the phrase ‘veganism’, which at one point was widely ridiculed as ‘hippie kooks or radical politics, veganism’ has ascended to the astral plane of aspirational living’, whether it be an ethical choice, a health choice, or a choice made by intolerance to certain food groups. So why has veganism become so widely adopted in the western world?

The health benefits are hard to argue against. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegans are less likely to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or high blood pressure than meat-eaters are. Biology students might want to think about how this nutritional choice may affect people’s health.

Also ethical campaigns about the dairy and egg industry being unsustainable and morally bankrupt, such as documentaries such as ‘Cowspiracy’, ‘Vegucated’ or ‘Live and Let Live’ (available on Netflix) are increasing in popularity.

However, the idea that veganism is a predominantly western phenomenon. Countries such as Taiwan and Korea have a raging vegan-friendly culture because of factors such as Buddhism and dairy products not being widely available. Geography and Land Economy students may want to think about why companies choose certain countries to trial their products, and how a small community can represent a larger demand.

So what about the people within the vegan community? Well, the average age of the vegan comes in at 42, whilst the political orientation is 52% liberal, with 32% being neutral, and 47% do not actively practice any religion. Psychology students might want to think about how personal traits can affect other lifestyle choices.

Now, perhaps the most controversial question to pose. Is veganism a fad? Well statistics show that there are many more former vegetarians/vegans than people who currently eat this way. One third of a survey maintained the diet for three months or so, and 53% of former vegetarians/vegans maintained the diet for less than a year.

Economics students may want to think about the economic implication of a growing vegan community to the meat trade. 

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