Vegetarian eating continues to grow in popularity in the U.S. and abroad as people around the world learn about the many benefits of a plant-based diet. From China to the United Kingdom, animal-free foods are increasingly popular and accessible.
Here are five signs that veg eating is trending overseas:
Supermarkets abroad are stocking up on plant-based products. Amy’s Kitchen, one of the most popular American vegetarian food brands, has seen a 300 percent year-over-year sales growth in the United Kingdom. Part of this boost can be attributed to the recent horsemeat scandal that prompted consumers to learn more about factory farming. Amy’s is also expanding into Hong Kong, India and China.
China has a growing vegetarian community. The country which has historically lacked an powerful animal protection movement now boasts more vegetarians than the U.S. Largely persuaded by the environmental impacts of factory farming, more than 50 million Chinese identify as vegetarian — and vegan restaurants are popping up to meet this increase in demand.
Meat-free days gain momentum. Meatless Mondays isn’t just an American trend — this healthy-eating initiative is celebrated all over the globe. In 2009, Ghent, Belgium became the first city to adopt Veggie Day and soon after Bremen, Germany introduced a “Thursday Veggie Day” campaign. Germany’s Green Party even recently announced that it’s adding a “Veggie Day” component to its party platform.
Fast-food franchises go vegetarian. Following the success of Subway’s all-vegetarian restaurants in India (and the increasing availability of vegetarian options in the country’s traditional Subway stores), McDonald’s is introducing its first two all-vegetarian restaurants in India this year. These corporate giants are beginning to recognize the importance of adapting their menus to meet consumer preferences.
Attendance grows at international VegFests. Vegetarians all over the world are coming together to celebrate and inform others about compassionate eating by attending vegetarian festivals. Many of these events are newly-established yet see enormous success, like VegFest Brighton, which draws 7,500 visitors, and Berlin VegFest, which saw an even more astounding 10,000 attendees last year.
Vegetarian eating is easier than ever, all around the world. Regardless of what continent you’re on, you can enjoy these international recipes for posole, Filipino picadillo and lasagna — or, search for veg-friendly restaurants across the world on VegGuide.org.