Happy World Vegan Day! November 1 is truly the most wonderful time of the year, and while 2020 did not go as planned, it has still provided us reasons to advance and celebrate the plant-based movement. From Lizzo going vegan to Starbucks testing plant-based breakfast sandwiches, 2020 has not kept the vegans down! Here are the eight best things that happened to veganism this year.
RELATED: Lizzo Goes Vegan
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1. Lizzo Goes Vegan
The international pop sensation began posting home-cooked vegan recipe videos on her Tiktok platform back in March, but in June, she made it official. Nearly six months later, she’s still vegan, and her 11 million followers know it.
2. Ben & Jerry’s Launches New Vegan Products
We didn’t just see one new product from Ben & Jerry’s this year, but five! In February, the decadent Non-Dairy Netflix & Chill’d flavor hit the market, soon followed by three new non-dairy flavors with a creamy sunflower butter base. More recently, the company launched vegan cinnamon bun cookie dough bites in stores. These new products have certainly gotten us through a few rough patches in recent months.
3. Starbucks Tests Vegan Breakfast Items
Vegans collectively rolled their eyes when Starbucks launched a vegetarian breakfast croissant with the Impossible sausage patty, as the buttery croissant, egg, and cheese made it virtually impossible to veganize. However, the coffee behemoth began testing a completely vegan option of this sandwich at a location in Seattle. Vegan cream cheese—formulated exclusively for Starbucks by Miyoko’s Creamery—has also been consumer tested in a Seattle location. Here’s hoping the rest of the country gets to experience these products soon.
4. Joaquin Phoenix Devotes Acceptance Speech to Animal Rights
Upon accepting the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the Joker, Joaquin Phoenix addressed the injustices of the world—from social issues to animal rights. He said, “We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and when she gives birth we steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable. And then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and cereal.” He called for peace and justice for all—people, the animals, and our environment. Post-Oscars, he and Rooney Mara swung by Monty’s Good Burger for a late night vegan bite.
5. El Pollo Loco Debuts Vegan Chicken Nationwide
This chicken chain’s original Chickenless Pollo contained egg, but in July, the company announced a new vegan-friendly recipe. Now available in all 482 locations nationwide, customers can order a wide variety of tacos, burritos, salads, and bowls with the Chickenless Pollo and the phrase “make it vegan” to signal the cashier to remove all dairy, meat, egg products.
6. Nordstrom Bans Sale of Fur and Exotic Animal Skins
Finally! The department store announced that by 2021, fur sales will be banned from all Nordstrom stores—including Nordstrom Rack, last chance stores, and online shops. The decision was made following a partnership with the Humane Society of the United States.
7. Dairy-Free Commercial Runs on NBC
Made possible by Switch4Good, three 30-second commercials aired continuously on NBC from July-September. The ads featured plant-based Olympic athletes and encouraged viewers to go dairy-free for their health and the planet. This was the first PSA campaign of its kind on national, mainstream television.
8. Vegan Bakery Replicates PieCaken and Ships Nationwide
For those unfamiliar, a PieCaken is a towering sweet monstrosity of multiple flavors of pie and cake combined into one epic dessert. Karma Baker—a dedicated vegan and gluten-free bakery in Westlake Village, CA—has veganized this creation and made it available for nationwide shipping. Layered with pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and apple spice cake all held together with a whipped cinnamon buttercream, this treat is intended for Thanksgiving celebrations. However, we believe it should be the unofficial celebration dessert of World Vegan Day.