This year has been a BIG year in vegan news! From better treatment to animals to an increase in vegan food options, there has been progress on many fronts.
Here we’ve rounded up the biggest announcements of the year, and are counting down based on what we think has the biggest, or the potential to have the biggest, impact.
Take a look and see if you agree!
#10. Starbucks Unveils Its First Vegan Breakfast Item (February 2017)
Starbucks, America’s favorite coffee chain, has long been a place vegans and lactose-free individuals could turn to for dairy alternatives with their soy-milk and coconut milk offerings, and even more recently almond-milk.
This past February, the chain announced it was expanding its food options by offering vegans its first prepared breakfast item, Overnight Grains, which consists of steel oats, quinoa and chia seeds soaked in coconut milk, tropical compote, and topped with shaved coconut and sliced almonds. It is currently available at 600 locations around New York.
#9. McVegan Now Offered Across Sweden And Finland (December 2017)
In October, McDonald’s launched a trial-run in Tampere, Finland for a new vegan burger called the McVegan. That trial ended successfully this month with an announcement that the burger will now be offered in all of its restaurants across Sweden and Finland.
The nordic region has proven to be a popular vegan destination with another burger, the Veggie McSpice, having been successfully launched earlier in the year.
#8. Pizza Hut Adding Vegan Cheese To Its Menu (November 2017)
Ok this was a good one! Pizza Hut UK had social media buzzing last month with the announcement that they were expanding a new vegan cheese option to menus across the country.
With the ongoing surge of the vegan cheese market, we can expect that even more restaurants will begin taking a few notes from Pizza Hut’s book.
#7. TGI Fridays To Launch Vegan Burger In 2018 (November 2017)
This one made as much noise as Pizza Hut’s announcement, but it was more exciting for us because it has more local impact. That’s right, TGI Fridays confirmed that 500 locations across the US will get to enjoy its vegan Beyond Burger when the rollout happens in January!
After this announcement, Beyond Meat, the company behind this meat-like meatless burger, received an increase in funding from Tyson Foods, the largest meat producer in the US, who already owns a 5 percent share in the company. This shows that even the meat giants know they have something to look out for and should probably get on board or risk getting left behind.
#6. Tesla Does Away With Leather Seating (July 2017)
Tesla made a big move this past summer when it eliminated leather seating options for its vehicles. Going forward, the interiors of Tesla’s cars will be made from a vegan synthetic material.
What started as a mere option back in 2016, is now the only one for Tesla’s premium sedans and SUVs.
There is still room for improvement as leather-wrapped steering wheels prevent Tesla from being touted as completely cruelty-free, but the company can see the demand is there. This is definitely game-changing for the motor vehicle industry.
#5. Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo Commit to Going Fur-Free (December 2017)
One step forward for the fashion industry, one leap forward for mankind.
Michael Kors Holdings Limited announced just last week that it would fully cease production of fur-made items by the end of 2018, making it the latest high-end fashion brand to commit to the anti-fur movement. Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo join other brands like Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren and Gucci, who made a similar announcement a couple months earlier, to name a few.
#4. Memphis Meats Receives Funding From Major Investors (August 2017)
Memphis Meats is another one catching the attention of major investors as the company moves forward with its development of “clean meat”. They started with lab-grown beef last year before moving onto chicken and duck, and their methods have attracted capital from the likes of Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Kimbal Musk, and Cargill Foods.
The benefit to our planet is something even PETA recognizes as a move forward; the animal advocacy group has long been an investor of in vitro meat research.
#3. European Union Votes In Favour Of Improving Rabbit Welfare (March 2017)
This vote requires that new minimum standards be drawn up in the protection of rabbits grown for food and fur. This is big as it means that a ban on rabbit cages could soon be a reality across the European continent.
While this is far from where we need to be, i.e. eliminating rabbit farming all together, it’s again a step in a positive direction and will ideally lead to more ethical practices, across the globe, going forward.
#2. LA School District To Start Vegan Meal Pilot Program (May 2017)
The second largest school district in the US gave vegans everywhere a promising hope for the future when the Board of Education voted in favor of a vegan pilot lunch program. This move was made in response to the Healthy Freedom campaign, started by middle school student, Lila Copeland, and backed by actress and animal rights activist, Pamela Anderson.
Since the initial release, the pilot has been so successful that the school board is now considering expanding the option to every school across the county. Think about how much this can help the health and habits of the upcoming generation.
#1. Portuguese Parliament Makes Vegan Option Compulsory in All Public Canteens (March 2017)
It’s now the law! The Portuguese parliament voted in favor of a mandatory vegan option in all public canteens across the country.
This is where we’re trying to get to in all corners of the globe— making it so that the lack of options is not a factor! This history-making decision in Portugal could very well see replication across Europe and beyond; it has already inspired Denmark to take action.
So there you have it!
There are still a few days left in 2017 and still time for new developments to take place, but for now we’re looking forward to what more is to come in 2018.