The question of whether or not you should purchase vegan items from non-vegan establishments is a contentious one. Although veganism in its purest form is about abstaining from animal products, others would further suggest that supporting business that sell animal products, even if the product purchased is vegan, is unethical.
According to the vegan society, veganism has grown four fold in the past four years. Now with 600,000 vegans in the UK alone means that almost every fast food joint or big brand is producing vegan products to capitalize of this new emerging market.
However, the massive success of this movement may also be its downfall. Veganism, once thought of as a way to live in harmony with the world is now becoming consumerist. Whilst vegans flock to McDonalds, Burger King, GBK or other, is this not a way to inadvertently support the meat industry as well? These brands spend millions purchasing animal by-products to service their primary target market, meat-eaters.
Do we blame the big corporations for fuelling foods that consumers demand, or do we blame ourselves? After all, these companies are only producing what the market wants.
If we were all to become vegan the need for meat in itself would become a redundancy and companies wouldn’t purchase the products in the first place. Where do we draw the line?
Personally I’m not one to blame others for my own sins and I firmly believe that the buck stops with what people choose for themselves. We can’t blame fast food for making people fat any more than we can blame corporations for fuelling people’s meat cravings.
Although I disagree with corporate capitalism, the reality is that it’s here, and here to stay. Big companies will look after themselves no matter what. If by brands putting plant based alternatives on their shelves means vegans get a wider selection to choose from, and some meat eaters compelled to trial a vegan alternative, then that’s a small win either way.
The hope that meat eaters change their diet through education and a wider selection of plant based meals will in itself change the shape of products coming out to market.
After all, be the change you want to see in the world, waiting on corporate capitalism to initiate change will never happen.