The vegan movement can learn something from the glutenfree “movement” (obviously it’s not a movement, but for lack of a better word). It hit me when I saw a woman posting something on Facebook. She wrote that for her, being glutenfree is a matter of life and death (she suffers from celiac disease and even a gram of gluten can have serious consequences), while there’s all these people who kind of “pretend” they need to be glutenfree. This makes it difficult for her to make e.g. waiters in restaurants understand that they have to take her special diet request very seriously (because, you know, that last gluten free person didn’t mind a little bit of this or that in their dish – sounds familiar?). However, she said, it is thanks to all these would-be glutenfree intolerants that she now can choose among a wealth of food products, in both stores and restaurants – products which a couple of years ago were simply not available.
Maybe you can see the parallel (probably not 100% correct, as parallels usually aren’t) with our vegan movement: here too, we have a small group of genuine vegans on the one hand, for whom eating vegan is extremely important, and on the other hand, a much bigger group of people who like to eat vegetarian/vegan now and then (to different degrees). Lots of the “genuine” ones will complain about the “loose” types and call them hypocrites or fakers, but we have to face it: they are a larger group than the one (or two) percent vegans, and it is they who create demand.
Let me say this again, because it is important: it is the big group of meat reducers that is creating the demand for vegetarian products. Food producers mainly cater to this group when creating vegetarian products. The increased choice of products, however, makes it easier to become stricter and stricter, more and more vegan.
So instead of calling the meat reducers names, let’s keep in mind that is because of them that being vegan is now so much easier than it used to be.
I leave it to you to think about the strategy take aways 🙂