In the last couple of years, something interesting has been happening. It involves big corporate brands that promote animal foods doing their best to persuade people not to buy vegan foods, whether it be for health or taste reasons. But one wonders why the companies would do such a thing? Could it be because vegan lifestyles are now so popular, that the companies that make big money from animal suffering are getting worried?
Mahatma Gandhi once said, 'First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win'. This sees to be happening in the vegan world. Companies a few years ago would have just ignored little vegan food brands that sold in independent health stores. Then when they began selling their products next door on the aisles, they were laughed at. Then they began insulting the vegans, which in some cases has led to a consumer backlash. Here are two examples:
Joshua and his Vegan Mayo
In the USA, Hampton Creek's Just Mayo is a vegan food brand founded by Joshua Tetrick. Growing up poor, he went vegan and wanted to create commercial products that anyone could afford. So he launched his revolutionary vegan mayo, which has top chefs among its fans. But one major mayo company took him to court, saying that because his brand had no eggs, it could not be called mayo. But people across America began buying it in droves, because it tasted the same and yet was cholesterol-free. The corporate brand had to drop the case as it was giving Joshua so much good free publicity. In fact, his sales have now gone through the roof, and he is planning 30 more items for the grocery shelves!
Oatly is sending Sweden Vegan
In Sweden, Oatly is a major brand of oat milk, which also produces its own cream, ice-cream and coffee creamer. The company has a fun reputation across Europe, its shy Swedish-Japanese MD renowned for recording terrible songs, highlighting that his products are 'like milk, but for humans'. This did not go down well with the Scandinavian Dairy Council who, in a country renowned for being huge milk-drinkers, took Oatly to court for suggesting to the public that 'milk seemed unmodern'. Again, the action backfired and now Swedish people love this fun and ethical brand. The MD saved a fortune in advertising fees, saying that if he had known it was so easy to get this much free publicity, he would have done it years ago.
When A Campaign Backfired, Jamie Oliver listened
A few years back, Jamie Oliver upset nearly all vegans in the UK when, as arguably the world's most popular chef, he said 'don't be a vegan, enjoy your food'. The backlash began with many chefs offering to cook him a tasty meal. But rather than get annoyed, this amiable chef did the opposite. He realized his mistake, and was soon offering vegan meals on his website. Now he regularly employs vegan chefs on his hugely successful FoodTube video, which has brought vegan into the mainstream. Although far from vegetarian himself, he shows how a little humility coupled with his natural talent has probably brought more everyday people to vegan food than anyone else, even though he used to be thought of as 'the enemy'.
So there you have it. The above cases prove that the proof is out there. Once people know about good vegan food, they come to it in droves. With no advertising often ever needed!