As British comedian David Mitchell has confessed, the growing number of vegans makes non-vegans like himself feel extremely uncomfortable. Mitchell is fairly transparent in his rant ("I don't like change and I do like sausages,"), acknowledging that what gets him most is "the nagging suspicion that they might be right." Still, he touches on an important cultural discourse on the social impact of what we eat-and what we don't.
In my view, we should be far more uncomfortable with accelerating climate change, poor health, and animal suffering-all symptoms of meat, egg, and dairy industries-than we are with the increasing prominence of people who prefer to eat plant-based food.
But this may help explain some of the outrage that was directed at LA city councilman Paul Koretz after he introduced a proposal in late 2018 that, if passed, would require food vendors in city-owned properties, large private venues, and movie theaters to offer at least one vegan protein dish. It would also require every terminal in LAX to feature at least one fully vegan restaurant, and for all LAX restaurants to provide a minimum of one vegan main dish.
According to critics, such as food writer Gustavo Arellano, Koretz's plan is one of the dumbest US laws that was proposed in all of 2018. Restaurants in these venues would offer vegan options if customers wanted them, Arellano decried. In addition, businesses subject to Koretz's proposal will lose money, because they would already be offering vegan food if it was profitable, he said.
Eating vegetables doesn't solve everything-in fact, plants and agriculture can be problematic, too. And while Arellano did not dispute that animal products come at an environmental and social cost, he believes Los Angelenos are too concerned with local homelessness, traffic, and poverty to make a concerted effort to preserve the planet.
But the numbers suggest otherwise. The international meal delivery service Just Eat named veganism a top consumer trend in 2018. Restaurant consultancy group Baum + Whiteman slated plant-based as "the major food trend of 2018." And The Economist called 2019 the year of the vegan.