The great vegan invasion

 Image source: Unsplash.com

There has been a lot of buzz around veganism in the media recently with Australia reported as being the third fastest growing vegan market in the world. While this is definitely big news, it is something Earth Source Foods had already caught wind of, given the uptake of interest in our tofu lately.

And we’re not the only ones who have noticed a change. The increased demand for meat and soy products in Australia has been felt by the food industry, and consumers are becoming far more sophisticated, looking for quality in their animal product alternatives (i.e. non-GMO) rather than just substitution.

The recent Fairfax article says Australia only sits behind the United Emirates and China when it comes to the uptake of vegan foods. Australia's packaged vegan food market is purported to be worth almost $136 million, and it is set to reach a staggering $215 million by 2020.

Nutrition Australia also reflected the changing attitudes of Australians when they released a new healthy eating pyramid late in 2015. Many of us will be familiar with this ‘pyramid’ that is designed as a visual tool to reflect the latest Australian dietary guidelines.

The interesting thing about the 2015 updated pyramid is that it now includes tofu, which had previously not registered on the pyramid as a western dietary staple. Another notable addition to the pyramid that reflects our changing dietary times is quinoa. Yes, things are definitely changing.

Earth Source Foods

In illustrating the vegan way of life, Fairfax profiled the Brewer family from Sydney’s northern beaches that has three children, the youngest of which has never experienced anything but a vegan diet. They even have three vegan dogs (whenever they can get their hands on vegan dog food).

Amanda from the Brewer family says in her video interview with Fairfax, “It’s not a matter of just removing milk, eggs and dairy; you have to substitute with other things and they’re usually a lot healthier.”

She’s got a good point. A successful and sustainable vegan diet – like any good diet – takes some planning to ensure you’re getting the correct daily intake of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Tofu can help address that balance.

While many people are unwilling to take a fresh look at tofu, the stigma around tofu is well and truly changing with the likes of veganism on the rise. We attempted to break down some of that stigma ourselves when we blogged about 10 Tofu Mythbusters.

But, if you still need some encouragement, here are a few things that might help you see tofu in a new light:

Tofu is very high in protein. When combined with protein-containing vegetables, you’re serving yourself a meal with comparable protein and essential amino acids as any meat or fish dish. When combined with meat, you are giving yourself a super protein boost (yes – tofu is not just for vegans or vegetarians). Tofu is also super-rich in magnesium, iron, folate, zinc and vitamin B1.

In other words, tofu is a very versatile and very healthy dietary staple with a number of nutrients to help you achieve a balanced eating regime. You should get to know it better.