The question first appeared on ABC’s The Hustler, when Craig Ferguson asked the contestants a thorny question, “What in the hell is an industrial vegan?”
It’s a great question and it’s one we’re going to attempt to answer for you. The vegan lifestyle is becoming more and more mainstream and vegan food has absolutely transformed over the last decade but why is the word industrial associated with this?
Industrial Vegan? What’s That?
Well, it’s pretty confusing because there is no official definition of this term. In fact, it was brought up by “The Hustler” on the game show when she announced that she was an industrial vegan.
She explained that she didn’t follow a vegan diet but, instead, she did not consume processed food products that were a result of industrial farming.
This was confusing to many because the word “vegan” at a minimum is meant to refer to a plant-based diet but the contestant wasn’t even describing a vegetarian diet.
She admitted that she continued to eat animal products as long as they weren’t industrially processed.
Does The Vegan Society Admit Industrial Vegans?
The Vegan Society defines veganism as abstaining from animal products, animal cruelty, and animal exploitation.
As such, they’re not likely to take people unless they eat vegan foods and follow vegan diets, and for the moment? Industrial veganism as laid out on The Hustle doesn’t come close to fulfilling their definition.
Traditional Types Of Vegan
There are four traditional types of people following vegan/vegetarian diets and they are ethical vegans, environmental vegans, health vegans, and religious vegans.
It ought to be clear that none of them eat meat and why they have opted for their choice of diet.
However, many vegans tend to start their times as vegans on a poorly planned vegan diet. This has led to a new class of vegans, the junk food vegans. Yes, they eat plant foods but instead of following vegan recipes, they are often face down in plant-based meat alternatives and the vegan fast food industry.
These vegans might benefit from adopting the term industrial vegan and seeking to overcome their nutritional deficiencies by opting for a diet that excludes intensive farming processes and overprocessed food.
We can understand the arguments against the meat industry but we should be careful that if we want to lead this lifestyle that we aim for health benefits and don’t become “dirty vegans” hooked on junk that’s worse than stuff that meat-eaters consume.
Animal-free alternatives are fine in moderation, of course, but just because something is certified vegan – it doesn’t mean that it’s good for us. One obvious example is soy milk, which in small quantities is fine but in high volumes is possibly very unhealthy.
Do Industrial Vegans Eat a Vegan Diet or A Raw Vegan Diet?
Neither. A vegan only consumes vegan products and the industrial vegan is unlikely to be seen in a vegan restaurant due to the fact that they continue to eat animal foods.
Animal food products obviously contribute to animal suffering though by avoiding factory farming, the industrial vegan is minimizing their cruelty to animals.
As for a raw diet? No. This refers to a specific sub-group of vegans that only eat raw foods and it is an extremely challenging way to live for most people. It goes way beyond cutting out animal-derived substances or looking for vegan options to eschewing huge swathes of vegan-friendly meals.
While raw veganism certainly doesn’t embrace factory-processed foods – it’s unlikely that its adherents would choose to embrace the “industrial tag” at all.
Final Thoughts On Industrial Veganism
So, there you have it an industrial vegan is not vegan by any traditional measure but it may well be a concept that we should all consider both inside and outside of the world of plant-based living – not eating over-processed food can only be good for us all.
If you’re interested in veganism then you might enjoy these articles: how to avoid the potential dangers of the vegan’s diet, why people go vegan, and how to tell people you’re now vegan without starting a fight!