Veganism: The Mother Clucking Debate

Following the success of the Greggs vegan sausage roll, KFC have introduced a vegan ‘Imposter Burger’: a Quorn fillet coated in the signature KFC eleven herbs and spices. The vegan burger has been met with increasing enthusiasm and praise for KFC online. However, it cannot be helped but consider that a vegan KFC burger is a contradiction. KFC’s primary business is the sale of chicken products, and it could be argued that the fundamental principles of veganism suggests vegans should not support such a brand in any capacity.

Whilst many argue that choosing a vegan product influences supply and demand by encouraging meat focused brands to invest in vegan products, it’s debatable how much impact this will have on a company that bears the word ‘Chicken’ in its name. To KFC, veganism is no more than a trend and thus a viable market. When considering Greggs, after the success of their vegan sausage roll they brought out a vegan steak bake. Whilst this is great at giving more vegan choices, the brand will continue to sell these alongside their meat sausage rolls and meat steak bakes. Greggs have simply added vegan products to appeal to vegan consumers, with nothing suggesting that meat eaters are ‘switching’ to these alternatives. Greggs and KFC are just looking to increase their market, not to change their brand ethics and ideals. 

It is dependable on your ethics as a vegan as to whether you choose to support brands that profit from the consumption of animal products, however shopping anywhere that is exclusively vegan and 100% cruelty free is unrealistic. Additionally, people turn vegan for reasons other than reducing the exploitation of animals, with other factors such as health and sustainability also influencing decision making. Giving vegan alternatives allows people to make informed choices, which is a positive step for the vegan movement. 

It is important to make veganism accessible in order to reduce the myth that it is an impossible lifestyle. When turning vegan, people worry that it will impact on their social lives as it can be diet restrictive, so introducing vegan options into fast food shops like KFC is a great way to put these worries at bay. Whilst KFC does not exactly correlate with the ethics of veganism, the company is giving veganism a positive platform. The introduction of vegan alternatives in these prominent fast food chains normalises veganism by bringing it to the high street.

We must be optimistic that this positive publicity and promotion of veganism will continue past ‘Veganuary’; hopefully, those who follow a ‘flexitarian’ diet and participate in meat free Mondays will choose from the ever growing selection of meat free alternatives.

Leah Dunderdale-Smith

Featured image via Vegan Liftz.