Words by Smiley Team
Vegetarian and vegan options are becoming increasingly popular, which is helping reduce the demand for products derived from animals.
In the United States alone, two plant-based food companies have saved at least 630,000 animals' lives in 2021. The data was compiled by the nonprofit World Animal Protection (WAP), which emphasizes that the actual number is likely much higher – close to one million.
Burger King and Panda Express are two of the many US restaurants that sell Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods products. WAP looked at how much plant-based food each chain typically sells, as well as how many days a year they are typically open.
More than 211,000 pigs, 77,000 cows, and 350,000 chickens were spared from the US food system in 2021, according to the animal welfare charity's prediction.
WAP believes the figure is closer to one million animals in the United States alone because the calculations only scratch the surface of the plant-based movement.
As the charity points out, "our evaluation does not account for the whole plant-based product market, such as those sold in grocery stores, menu items featuring other plant-based brands or those created in-house, or Beyond and Impossible products available at other types of restaurants."
There was a big increase in the number of Impossible Foods shops in 2021 from just 150.
In addition, WAP's analysis excludes egg and dairy items from consideration. Zero Egg, a plant-based food company, has released data showing that these numbers are just as significant.
According to Joe Loria, director of communications and marketing at Zero Egg, "our vision is to enable the age of sustainable foods, and we understand that we will not be able to safeguard our planet and enhance the lives of animals without replacing regular eggs with a plant-based choice."
There is a 93% reduction in water consumption and 92% reduction in land use for the company's vegan eggs compared to the production of conventional eggs. In addition, they reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 59%.
A lot of work has to be done, but WAP recognizes that progress is being made. There is a growing movement away from animal products in the US and around the world. About 49% of Americans said they'd be open to eating less meat and dairy in favor of plant-based alternatives in a survey conducted late last year.
DONATE: You can support WAP, whose mission is to live in a world where animal cruelty has ended.
VOLUNTEER: Find out how WAP gets its supporters involved through fundraising and volunteering.
WATCH: You can learn more about planet-friendly diets in our Smiley Talk.