Elise Comer, Writer

With the growing use of social media, influencers have played a key part in people’s lifestyle choices for example, veganism. Veganism has been on the rise in America since 2010, and still continues to grow. New restaurants have also contributed to veganism, from Burger King’s new Impossible Burger to the famous Bunna Cafe in Brooklyn, New York.

Social media influencer, “earthyandy” advocates her vegan lifestyle to her one million follower fanbase on Instagram. This is just one of the many influencers that have made an impact in this movement. Many people have stated the controversy of whether veganism is beneficial or not, and made their views known in her comment section. Vegan supporter and Mason resident Jessica Comer, explains how she first learned about this.

“The reason of why I am aware of this movement is because I have joined social media and know that there’s people in the area like-minded” said Comer.

Celebrities like Jayden Smith and Leonardo Dicaprio and many others that have become vegan supporters contribute to the popularity of this movement. Comer says it’s “becoming a bigger deal” now because of the talk celebrities have been doing.  Freshman Nevaeh Quinn-Salas explains if she would ever try going vegan.

“I’ve seen a lot of famous influences on Instagram and other social media, talking about how they’ve become healthier” said Quinn-Salas “and that it’s better for them and how they prefer going vegan over eating a bunch of meat and animal products.”

Earlier this year Taco Bell announced that it would test a “dedicated vegetarian menu” and Ben and Jerry’s introduced a variety of non-dairy ice cream in 2016. With vegan restaurants and products popping up throughout the United States, Comer talks about the growth just in Lansing, Michigan.

“There are definitely more restaurants in the Lansing area that, in the past few years, I have eaten more plant based. There are more and more options on the menu than there used to be.” said Comer. “It’s definitely becoming more popular and common, ten years ago you could not find any vegan products pretty much anywhere besides fresh fruits and vegetables. Now you can go to fast food restaurants and get vegan products.”

Organizations like the Vegan Society or WSPA have started to gain more attention throughout the years. In the UK the number of members of the Vegan Society quadrupled between 2014 and 2019. Sophomore Jayln Sartor gives his opinion on the growth of this.

“I think this is going to continue to grow because people are more attracted to the idea of becoming vegan,” said Sartor.“People have been more into animal activism, like organizations like PETA, and those other like food companies too.” 

The Fuel in Brighton, Michigan and My Little Honey Pot in Howell, Michigan, are great examples of newly opened vegan restaurants that have opened around the mid Michigan area. Even chain restaurants are introducing vegan products on their menu. 

“I think it’s becoming big now. I think now with the Impossible burger showing up at Burger King, A&W has the Impossible burger, and now they also have chicken nuggets that are faux meat in Canada,” said Comer. “And it’s starting to trickle into the United States, having all these alternate meat products along with alternate dairy products.”

Burger King started selling their Impossible Whopper nationwide on August 8th, 2019. It quickly became the talk of the month, Sartor talks about his experience with this new product.

““I was at Burger King and they had that Impossible Whopper and that doesn’t have any meat in it, and I tried it and it tasted pretty good,” said Sartor. “It tasted like meat and it was good, I don’t really know how good it was for you but it tasted good.”

These are just some of the key factors that are coming into play with veganism on the rise. The controversy of whether this is beneficial at all or just worthless, will stay on the rise as well, as long as social media is still around and people argue their opinions.

“I would say now it’s starting to become big,” said Comer.