Posted by Daniela Walker

30 Jul, 2021

Are you a Dirty Vegan?

Yes, vegan junk food exists. And yes, it’s delicious.

It’s safe to say that veganism is no longer just for vegans. As we discovered in Part One of our series on vegan culture in collaboration with positive impact brand consultants (S)WEAR, people turn to plant-based options for a variety of reasons including sustainability, health and even flavour.

In the second article of our series, we wanted to explore a rising segment in plant-based foods: comfort food. Brands like vegan fried chick*n company VFC Foods or plant-based pizzeria Purezza are leading a foodie revolution where indulgence and flavour are the priority – the products just happen to be plant-based. This idea of “dirty veganism” is catching on, but amongst whom?

Examining social accounts of leading comfort food vegan brands, we uncovered who exactly is interested in Dirty Veganism and the motivations behind their food choices.

Network visualisation of the Vegan Fast Food audience as seen on the Fifty platform.
Network viz of the vegan fast food audience.

Young & Fun

A night out on the town is often followed by a slice or two of pizza, a kebab, maybe some fries...and that desire doesn't stop if you’re vegan. A notable trend within our study was the amount of young or fun-loving tribes such as Gen Z: Music Fans, Party People and Dance Music Fans.

For young people, who are turning to veganism for ethical rather than dietary reasons, this makes sense as they are still seeking out their favourite midnight snack after a night out, but without animal products. For other tribes that skew older such as Dance Music Fans and Party People, it is a reflection of the desire to find healthier alternatives – many traditional vegan and vegan detox products also rank highly amongst these groups.

Gen Z music fans, a key portion of the vegan fast food audience as seen on the Fifty platform.
Gen Z Music Fans

Indulgence But Make It Healthy

For many Dirty Vegans, plant-based options represent not only a more ethical, but a healthier choice than the meat-based equivalent. We see this mentality represented in two tribes that were not reflected in our original study on vegans: Weight Loss Devotees & Dietitians and Fitness Devotees.

The first tribe, which is very focused on dieting and weight loss, showcases how much vegan food represents a decision to be healthy. So even if this cohort chooses to indulge in comfort food, they still want the health factor that being plant-based offers.

The Fitness Devotees, on the other hand, is an audience of hardcore athletes, ultra runners, triathletes and fitness fanatics. Rarely stepping away from their fitness and diet regimens, plant-based fast food again offers a satisfying alternative for when cravings arise.

Fitness devotees, a key portion of the vegan fast food audience as seen on the Fifty platform.
Fitness Devotees

Vegans Love Junk Food Too

Several tribes within the study reflect a traditional vegan audience. That is to say, a lot of people interested in vegan junk food are vegan themselves, rather than meat-eaters or flexitarians. The large Passionate Vegans tribe, which supports stalwart vegan organisations and brands like PETA, Veganuary and VegFest, reflects this as does the Stylish Mums tribe, which commonly indexes within vegan studies.

This engagement with vegan fast and comfort food brands reflects the vegan population's excitement to have more options that cater to their lifestyle. Because every vegan deserves to be a Dirty Vegan every once and awhile.

Passionate vegans, a key portion of the vegan fast food audience as seen on the Fifty platform.
Passionate Vegans

Are you a plant-based business? Book a demo today to discuss how these audience insights can help grow and communicate your brand more effectively.


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