Classy Veganism?

By Ojas Joshi

Trendy celebrity diets, wealthy influencer snacks, and fancy food labels—more often than not, veganism feels like a diet for the “elite.” Bolstered by these “upscale” lifestyles, veganism often receives criticism and critique for its unattainable economic standards. However, sifting through the controversy sheds light on the true economics of veganism in different areas of the world. Based on a recent study conducted by Oxford University, adopting a vegan diet in high-income countries (such as the U.S.) can reduce food-related costs by nearly one-third. Switching to a sustainable plant-based diet not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions, it also saves a substantial amount of money in the long run. 

Oxford’s study also compared the scarce supply of vegan foods to traditional diets in low-income countries. Scarce supply means that Western vegan foods are incredibly expensive in comparison to common foods in these countries. However, many of these countries, especially in South-East Asia, follow conventional non-western sustainable diets, involving little to no meat, thus proving that a cheaper vegan diet is sustainable Following these traditional sustainable lifestyles in low-income countries, has been shown to reduce food costs by nearly one-third, similar to high-income countries. 

Complaints about the “elitism” surrounding veganism stem from the lavish stars & celebrities who promote it. In truth, vegan diets are accessible and affordable for the majority of people.