It used to be that being vegan was considered strange, like eating raw spaghetti or wearing your underwear on your head. The times have changed—a new survey by IPSOS has revealed a huge rise in the number of people who identify themselves as vegan. Over the past decade the number has grown by more than 360%, a boom that represents both a shift in eating habits and a significant market to be tapped into by the food industry. According to the Telegraph, “some 542,000 people aged 15 or over...have adopted a plant-based diet”. That number is still rising, and the question food producers should be asking themselves is how they can best take advantage of a booming trend.
Part of what's driving the rise in veganism is heightened awareness of animal welfare. Increasingly food manufacturers are under pressure to treat animals with more respect—in the UK we have seen a growing disquiet at the conditions battery hens are raised in, for instance. Documentaries and media focus has not only decreased sales of cheap chicken but also boosted vegetable sales. It was easier in the past to ignore the origins of our meat—the advent of the modern supermarket meant that consumers were disconnected from the food manufacturing process. However, the internet and increased interest in the quality of the food we eat has led the public to take a closer look—and many do not like what they see.
Another pertinent issue for vegans (and thus food producers) is the heavy environmental strain of meat production—according to the Vegan Society, 5.6 million acres of land in Brazil is used to grow soy beans to feed animals in Europe. Not only has this destroyed vast swathes of rainforest, but the resources required to transport the feed from where it's grown is entirely unsustainable long-term. Food shortages in the developing world can also be traced to the draining requirements of meat production, since farmers are growing 'cash crops' and not food for themselves because it is less lucrative.
As stated on vegan websites like the Happy Cow, vegans can also take advantage of locally sourced food much more easily, especially in the UK where different regions do not necessarily produce the same food types. Vegetables, however can be grown just about anywhere in the country, including privately. It is one of the reasons that allotments are still as popular as ever, and why waiting lists are longer than they've ever been! Being able to grow your own food means you can control every aspect of its production from start to finish, and it is for this reason that veganism is definitely starting to catch on.
If you are one of the half a million Vegans in the UK, perhaps consider parlaying that into a career in the food industry. There is a strong demand for chefs and marketers in equal measure—both have their roles to play in the move to make life tastier and more sustainable! There are all sorts of positions in the industry in fact, from technologists to designers to scientists. Yourfoodjob.com has an exhaustive list of food jobs available. The hard work of trying to find specific jobs in the industry is done for you, enabling you to focus your search and find the job you really want.
Yourfoodjob.com is capable of finding the right job for you, in the right area, with adjustable search parameters that can be indispensable when on the job hunt. The truth is that jobs in the food industry can be right under your nose without you realising it, since many employers actually prefer to use jobs listings sites like this one in order to find the right candidate. Our customisable search engine will only show you the positions that you want to see, and if you sign up for our jobs by email service you need only set your requirements once. After that, we will inform you whenever a job comes up that we're sure you'll be interested in. You can even set the frequency of emails you receive (although we recommend a daily alert to keep you ahead of your competitors).