If you told people 30 years ago that you were vegan, they would think you were talking about a religion. Nobody was used to that word. What? No meat? No milk or eggs, either? No honey? What else was left to eat?
Animal products have been at the heart of most cultures. In Brazil, for example, Nestlé took over in the ’60s. Its condensed milk only was used to make baby formulas, at first. Then, it had the idea to create sweet recipes. That was a success. From then on, condensed milk was the main ingredient of every Brazilian dessert. Even in India, where there is a strong vegetarian culture, many traditional dishes contain milk.
For a long time, vegans had to stay out of most gatherings and dinner parties. It was too much work to cook for them when every classic dish had animal products. The lifestyle was considered strict and difficult to stick to, and only for crazy tofu-eaters.
But it’s not that vegans loved tofu and vegetables. They just had no other option. The first plant-based cheeses on the market were horrible. Desserts and treats existed in only a few stores, and they were expensive. There’s no doubt that a lot has changed since then.
In the last 10 years, there has been a big shift in the market. Plant-based products are everywhere. As the movement grows, big companies have started creating vegan versions of their products. Today, Ben & Jerry’s offers 19 vegan versions of its ice cream flavors in the USA. Most fast-food chains will have at least one vegan option on their menu.