Veganism is on the rise, and where in the past this might have been as a counterpoint to the multiple inbuilt problems exhibited by the meat industry, increasingly these days adoption of a vegan diet is undertaken for its sake alone; in other words, because of the myriad benefits provided by – and seen to be provided by – this lifestyle choice.
Into this context steps abillionveg, an app aiming to help consumers – all the way from those already deep in change to those just starting out – find and source vegan food and products all over the world. Founded by Indian entrepreneur Vikas Garg, the app uses photos and quick reviews to connect anyone looking for a plant-based product with what is available in their immediate locale, and of course generate and enhance community in the process.
Every time you either buy a plant-based product, or eat a vegan meal at a restaurant, abillionveg asks you to simply take a photo and leave a review of that specific product on their app. From the expected meatless burger paired with a salad at your favorite restaurant, to vegan cat food for your furry friend. As long as it is not made from animal products, it counts.
Every photo taken and review made is then one dollar sent to any organization of the participants choice. If you were to find 5 vegan products (shampoo, cosmetics, etc) and eat 5 different vegan meals, that would equate to 10 separate reviews and 10 dollars towards this movement. This company is partnered with over 50 organizations that focus on animal conservation and creating a more sustainable way of living. The organizations range from smaller, local establishments such as Asher’s Farm Sanctuary in South Africa and Granjita tyh in Mexico-to larger organizations such as The Humane Society International in India.
Not only is this a way to give back to the animal sanctuaries, but this also helps the growth of plant-based foods in restaurants all across the globe. Globally, in a majority of restaurants,1 out of every 25 dishes is vegan. As such, options are extremely limited for plant-based eaters compared to those of vegetarian or meat eaters. With this app, every review made gets sent to businesses around the world. These restaurants get a chance to hear directly from the consumers what they like and dislike, which is a way for more businesses to see that plant-based diets are on the rise – and that it is important to offer more options and potentially improve their business.
These reviews in turn are open to the public, and with this being a global app, complete or occasional vegans from all around the world are able to see what options are available for them to consume, and gain inspiration from these possibilities and ideas. A traveller from the UK to Mexico, for instance, can find vegan food options before they even begin their journey.
Although abillionveg is heavily geared towards food at the moment, Garg and the rest of his team are in the process of broadening the organization to make it focus on a plant-based and sustainable lifestyle as a whole. In doing this, abillionveg aims to have at least a billion people committed to a plant based lifestyle by the year 2030. With the popularity due to the positive health and lifestyle benefits that derive from a plant-based diet, what not too long ago seemed impossible is now a very achievable goal.
For The Yucatan Times Food and Drink
Sydney Fowlkes is a Pennsylvania-based writer and journalist whose work focuses on social and environmental news features.