We’re all ready to move on, but first, a look on the vegan bright side with a snapshot of the good that came out of this tumultuous year.

2021 is looking to be a promising year juxtaposed with 2020, but many of the wonderful things in the very near future were put in place during these dark months. Veganism held strong and advanced despite the odds. Celebrities adopted plant-based diets, restaurants continued to serve and more opened their doors for the first time, new products launched, and new laws were enacted to promote compassion and sustainability in 2021 and beyond. Here is just a snapshot of the good that came out of this tumultuous year.

1. Joaquin Phoenix gave an Oscar speech we’ll never forget

To accept his award as Best Actor at the 92nd Academy Awards, Phoenix raptured the celebrity audience and the viewers at home with a speech about compassion. He spoke of kindness not only toward humans, but toward animals most people think of as food. He specifically called out the dairy industry, confronting his listeners with their general acceptance to artificially inseminate a female cow, take her baby, and rob her of her milk all for the good of having something to pair with our cereal. Encore in 2021, please.

2. Vegan messaging went mainstream

The vegan message is no longer confined to one-off billboards or the pages of VegNews magazine. From July through September, commercials featuring professional and Olympic dairy-free athletes ran on NBC with the singular message: ditch dairy. The PSAs were funded by Switch4Good—a plant-based nonprofit specifically focusing on the detriments of dairy. In 2020, vegans went bold. People aren’t just seeing ads for dairy alternatives, they’re being told to dump dairy completely.

3. Starbucks leaned into vegan

Realizing that an unveganizable Impossible breakfast sandwich wouldn’t pacify its plant-based customers, Starbucks waded further into vegan territory by introducing vegan-as-is breakfast items to select Seattle locations. The chain further demonstrated its commitment to sustainability by launching oatmilk nationwide. Perhaps 2021 will finally be the year of the vegan PSL.

4. Lab-grown chicken became available to consumers

In Eat JUST’s case, the egg came before the chicken. The vegan food startup (formerly Hampton Creek) had been working on lab-grown chicken for years, but the business first gained fame with its creamy vegan mayonnaise and mung bean-based liquid eggs and patties. The cultured chicken made from cells—not slaughter—is now available as part of a three-course tasting menu at a fine-dining restaurant in Singapore.

5. Nordstrom banned fur

This high-end department store became the first in the US to discontinue the sale of fur and exotic animal skins. The mandate will go into effect in 2021. To all other department stores and fashion retailers: the precedent for cruelty-free fabrics has been set.

6. McDonald’s announced the McPlant

The highly anticipated vegan burger option at McDonald’s received mainstream attention, though many were more focused on the name rather than the enormous reveal. The fast-food behemoth became the brunt of the joke as social media and news outlets criticized the simplistic name and offered alternative branding options. The Beyond Meat-based patty will be released in yet-to-be-disclosed testing locations in 2021.

7. Lewis Hamilton broke a world record

To win 92 times – no matter what the medium – is a respectable accomplishment in itself. Vegan Formula One race car driver Lewis Hamilton secured a world record this year by earning his 92nd Grand Prix win. Yes, that’s a lot of trophies, but also, that’s a lot of vegan champagne.

Raise a glass – goodbye 2020, thanks for at least a few fond memories.

Original source: https://vegnews.com