According to the CBS data, about 5% of those aged 18-64 are vegans, but the Vegan Friendly association believes that in the coming years the dietary habits of hundreds of thousands of Israelis will change.

Rina Raphael 09:0604.04.18

In collaboration with the Health Arena system

How close is Israel to becoming a vegan country? Depends on who you ask. Among the Vegan Friendly association, in any case, we are sure that this is a definitely achievable vision. “You have to understand: Israel is a vegan powerhouse,” emphasizes Omri Paz, the founder of the association, “in recent years, Tel Aviv has twice been crowned the vegan capital of the world by the British media body The Independent.”

According to the data of the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), 5.2% of people aged 18-64 define themselves as vegans, and this is a considerable amount of about 236,700 Israelis. , notes Paz, “We discovered that 5% are vegetarians, 5% are vegans and 90% are omnivores. When the association began its work in 2012, the percentage of vegans was 1% of the total population, and there was only one vegan restaurant in Israel. Today, hundreds of vegan restaurants operate and in many of the restaurants and cafes you can find a variety of vegan dishes.” Read more in the health arena:

Recently, the fifth vegan congress was held in Tel Aviv, with the participation of about 1,500 people (“It was the second largest vegan conference in the world”, boasts Paz), and now the association is preparing to attack the next challenge: doubling the number of vegans in Israel in the next five years and turning them into what Paz calls a “critical mass” “.

“Studies show that if a group of people holds a firm opinion and spreads it widely, this opinion may become the opinion of the majority, provided that the group reaches a critical mass, meaning that at least 10% of the entire population believes in it,” Paz elaborates.

The steps planned by the association to meet this ambitious goal include, among other things, the launch of campaigns. “We plan targeted campaigns on a monthly basis,” says Paz, “the goal of each campaign is to influence at least 5,000 people and reach an amount of 60,000 people per year. In this way, we believe that over the next seven years we will be able to add another 400,000 vegans in Israel”.

Omri Paz

Omri Paz

Veganism as mainstream

With all due respect to predictions for the future, Chen Cohen, a lecturer, consultant and social activist who serves as a project manager at the Meatless Monday non-profit organization, would like to expand on what is currently happening in the field: “2017 was the year when veganism entered the depths of the mainstream in the Western world, and we saw this in joining The big companies joined the speeding train of the vegan trend. For example, Hagen then launched a line of plant-based milk-based, completely vegan ice creams. It did this after Ben & Jerry’s launched its own vegan line last year, and this year it even doubled the number of products in this line. By the way, After the success of the vegan pizza of Domino’s Pizza in Israel, the vegan pizza was launched in the chain’s branches in Australia. Pizza Hut also launched a pizza with vegan cheese in more than 260 of its branches in the UK. Even McDonald’s introduced a vegan burger to the menu this year, and it is currently available in Finland and Sweden “.

Cohen further adds: “The global food market must undergo a fundamental revolution and change. Back in 2006, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations stated in the famous report ‘The Long Life of Livestock’ that the meat industry is one of the biggest environmental problems facing humanity today. In In 2050, around 10 billion people are expected to live in the world, many of whom will want to eat more meat, but the earth will not be able to contain all the food areas needed to raise animals for meat. More and more companies are already realizing that we must change, or at least change our food and the method Its production. In preliminary studies, it appears that the production of clean meat – “cultured meat” (meat produced by an innovative method under laboratory conditions and without slaughtering or harming animals), will be much better and will require much less resources such as energy, water, soil, what’s more, it will pollute much less the environment”, he clarifies.

The future of meat is vegan

There is no doubt that clean meat or plant-based meat (meat that aspires to be the same in taste as animal meat, but is based on plant ingredients only) – received extensive attention this year. From senior meat companies to wealthy investors, who wanted to be part of the alternative industry.

“Memphis Meats, which two years ago already presented a prototype for meatballs, this year presented two additional developments, one for cultured chicken meat and the other for cultured goose liver,” explains Cohen, “Memphis Meats was chosen as a worthwhile investment not only in the eyes of Bill Gates and Sir Richard Bergson, but Tyson Foods is also in my eyes – which is considered the largest meat producer in the world. What all three of them have in common is not only their investment in the same company for the development of cultured meat, but also their similar statements in the media. Bill Gates said, for example, that in his opinion the future of meat is generally vegan, Branson noted that in another chapter For 30 years we will not kill animals for their meat, while the CEO of Tyson Foods believes that the future of food will probably be without meat.”

The new trends, Cohen explains, also have an economic angle, with venture capital funds increasingly choosing to invest in cultured meat companies: “A notable local example is SuperMeat – an Israeli startup developing cultured chicken meat, which received a $3.2 million investment from two capital funds: New Crop Capital Stray Dog Fund. In this context, another interesting company worth mentioning is the Perfect Day company, which is making progress in the development of cow’s milk without inseminating cows and without giving birth to a calf and separating it from its mother. Just recently, this company received an investment of almost 25 million dollars.”

When you also take into account the recommendation of the World Health Organization to reduce the consumption of animal meat, together with the recommendation of the American Nutrition Association, which stated that “a vegetarian and vegan diet, varied and balanced, is provides all the nutrients, is suitable for every stage of life including pregnancy, infancy, Youth, adulthood and old age. This diet can even prevent diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer and also obesity” – it is possible to understand where the change in dietary habits among many people around the world comes from and why global food companies have chosen to change the concept. The question that is now on the agenda is how and to what extent we will see the results of the change during the coming years.

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