Going Viral

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Lola Méndez explores how vegan creators are making waves with short-form videos 

The popularity of short-form video content has skyrocketed in recent years. Content creators are gaining huge audiences through sharing their videos, typically under 60 seconds in length, on platforms such as YouTube, TikTok, Facebook and Instagram. But does this trend intersect with vegan activism

Ashley Nsonwu headshot

Ashley Nsonwu of @HeyAshleyRenne believes so. She says, “I was scrolling social media one day and saw a video of a mother cow hysterically wailing as she chased down a truck that had just taken her newborn calf. The concept of animal exploitation hit me all at once. I went vegan that day.”  

Video trends pop up faster than you can bake plant-based cookies, but vegan content creators are up to the challenge of modifying trends by veganising them. Short-form videos play into the vegan movement by utilising short clips to highlight veganism in a digestible way. 

“Short-form videos are making vegan lifestyles more accessible and clearing misinformation regarding the movement,” Ashley says. From "get ready with me" to "what I eat in a day" videos, vegan content creators are engaging with their audience and promoting a vegan lifestyle.  

Educational tools 

Ashley has an informative series where she posts a video “Spillin’ the Green Tea” explaining why daily household items that are presumably vegan-friendly actually are not. She’s educated followers on why some plastic disposable razors aren’t vegan, that some crayons are made with beef fat and how white sugar in the US sometimes contains bone char

Ashley Renne Nsonwu and baby in the kitchenSometimes an audio clip, song or dance trend goes viral (suddenly gaining internet popularity over just a few hours or days). “Trends quickly come and go,” Ashey says. “I share my life in a way that's relatable and informative, and sometimes hop on timely, buzzy trends or utilise evergreen trends.” 

Since becoming a mother, Ashley has showcased that raising children vegan can be very healthy. “I record short-form “What My Vegan Baby Eats in a Day” videos featuring my son,” she says. “I was tired of the misinformed comments about raising my child vegan, so I show people what a full day of eating looked like for him. The first video went viral, and I turned it into a weekly series.” Some of the posts have surpassed a million views on Instagram. The series led to her writing “The Vegan Baby Cookbook

There’s a misconception that going vegan means spending more money on food. Alexis Nikole of @BlackForager disputes that myth by showing her followers how they can forage for free and make delicious plant-based meals. Alexis highlights both urban and rural foraging. She’s shared with her audience how to make cookies from magnolia flowers, soda from pine needles and linden chocolate ice cream

Veganising social media trends 

What I Eat In A Day (#WIEIAD) videos have been trending on social media for a few years now, and vegan creators are tapping into the trends to showcase how they eat delicious and nutritious food throughout the day. On TikTok, Allee and Hendry of @AhTheSpace post videos showing what they eat in a day as raw vegans

Berto Calkins of @WhatsGoodBerto is a vegan content creator focused on showcasing how you can build muscle while eating vegan. His WIEIAD videos are shared on Instagram and YouTube and detail how he eats upwards of 4000 calories a day—including plenty of protein. “I don’t follow social media trends, but repeat things that work for my intended audience,” Berto says. “Short-form videos are important because those videos take less time to watch. Having short-form videos that are about a vegan lifestyle just goes along with our shifting attention span as a society. My short-form videos do better and take a fraction of the time to create. They're also more convenient to shoot, especially since I use my phone to shoot them.” 

If you’ve always wanted to try the dishes you see your favourite characters eating in anime series and movies, turn to Iye Bako of @IyeLovesLife. She recreates the meals seen in anime hits in her “Veganized Ghibli Anime Foods” series including Ponyo’s Ramen and Chihiro’s Anman. Food prep has become popular and vegan video influencers are helping plant-based folks cook in bulk for the week. Kelsey Riley of @PlantedInTheKitchen has a Sunday Meal Prep series on TikTok. 

Recipe hacks 

Vegan recipes are a dime a dozen on social media. A few keywords and you can find steps to make any of your favourite meals vegan. Over on TikTok, Max La Manna is posting vegan kitchen hacks including how to use up your carrot tops, cauliflower leaves and potato peelings. 

Vegan creators are going above and beyond by sharing their tips on how to enhance vegan meals even further. The vegan treatment is also applied to social media food trends such as the pink sauce and viral TikTok pasta in which a block of feta cheese got veganised. Carleigh Bodrug of @PlantYou creates low-waste scrappy dishes such as broccoli stem fries and adds hidden veggies to recipes such as her viral pasta sauce that calls for six vegetables. Stephanie Manzinali of @That.VeganBabe recently made a vegan rendition of the viral baked sushi

Here to stay 

A testament to the innovation and creativity of vegan creators, veganism is trending across social media. It’s clear that short-form videos are undoubtedly here for the long-term.  

This article was first published in our membership magazine The Vegan 2023 Issue 2. 

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