Vegan in France

Is veganism here to stay?

France, renowned for cheese, 365 types of them, and delicacies such as stuffed goose liver and oysters. However, there is a growing population that have given up consuming these foods. More and more French people have adopted a vegan lifestyle, which aims to “exclude all forms of exploitation of animals, be it food, clothing or due to other purposes”. The restaurants in France are accommodating this change.

Often dubbed “strange”, veganism is not just a dietary choice. Overlooked are very good and urgent reasons to adopt such a lifestyle. It is a necessary rethinking of how we consume and considering our interdependence with nature.

Some figures estimate that currently about 5% of the French population is vegan. Meat consumption per person in France has actually gone down from 160g/day in 1998 to an estimated 46g/day in 2018. The restaurants are keeping up, there are about 500 of them which serve vegan dishes. “One [dish] is created in Paris every two months”, says Élodie Vieille-Blanchard, President of the French Vegetarian Federation ( AVF). “France has long lagged far behind London and Berlin, but it is catching up.”

Too much meat is harmful to the environment and to one's health.

This blog article outlines all important information you need to know about veganism.


France and the Food Sustainability Index

France is the most sustainable country in the world when it comes to food. Thanks to the country's ardent fighting of food waste, an acceptance and adherence to healthy lifestyles, and their approach to sustainable agriculture. They occupy top spot on the Food Sustainability Index since last year.
The index scores 67 countries, factoring in three categories: food loss and waste, sustainable agriculture, and nutritional challenges. France's high score is mainly a result of its aggressive food waste policies. For instance, it is the first country to penalize supermarkets for throwing away produce before its expiry date. These are given to charities.

“France has been in the vanguard of policies and measures to reduce such losses,” said Martin Koehring, Author of the food sustainability index. France waste 67.2kg of food per person every year, compared to 95.1kg in the United States and 78.2kg in Canada, according to his numbers.
Its agriculture ministry “aims to shift agriculture towards the objective of combining economic, environmental and social performance.”

Meanwhile, the Netherlands, Canada, Finland and Japan filled up the rest of the top five spots, and the rest played out as you can see below:

1. France
2. Netherlands
3. Canada
4. Finland
5. Japan
6/7. Denmark (tie)
6/7. Czech Republic (tie)
8. Sweden
9. Austria
10. Hungary

France's sincere efforts in food sustainability indicate that veganism, one of its main aims being sustainability, will become an established lifestyle for many locals.

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Vegan cheese in Aude, France

Vegan travels: France écotours contributes

Through our vegan travels, we want to introduce you to the French regions from a fresh angle and meet those – traders, organic farmers and committed actors, entrepreneurs, restaurateurs… who live vegan in France.

We also support these actors because they contribute to biodiversity, to the emergence of eco-friendly agriculture sectors such as vegan bio-cyclical agriculture, and to culinary know-how. They also promote ethical practices in the face of abuses of intensive livestock farming, and regulation against the exploitation of animals and natural resources in general.

Our vegan holidays are for everyone, families and non-vegans. Vegans naturally enjoy holidays in accordance with their lifestyle. Non-vegans have the opportunity to exchange, discover new flavors and foods or simply enjoy an original program that hopefully inspires!

Here are our current vegan trips on offer, although we are trying to include more trips in the near future:

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Not just vegan, also organic and good

Vegans cook enthusiastically, as do most French people (68% of French people cook regularly and it is women with 58% who most often continue to prepare good small meals).

Vegans get their menu ideas by reviving the French culinary tradition, by taking inspiration from flavors elsewhere, modifying gourmet recipes such as chocolate mousse. Vegan cuisine is the opposite of “unlively” cuisine because it:

  • offers a creative and healthy cuisine (fermented vegetables, forgotten vegetables, associations… etc.)
  • uses the potential of vegetables and pulses
  • (re)introduces ingredients such as mushrooms or algae.
  • explores underutilized spices, herbs and condiments

Algae have inspired us to make a vegan trip to Brittany, which allows us to discover a little-known but fascinating world!

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How to identify vegan products?

The offer of “vegan” products is exploding, but is it reliable? To date, vegan certification is neither mandatory nor regulated by law. As a result, companies have the right to stamp and sell their products with their own “vegan” pictogram, which, in the absence of regulations, can naturally lead to abuses such as the use of GMOs.
However, there are vegan labels corresponding to certified products. The graphic above, published by the Vegan France association, lists these.

The “cruelty free” and “sans cruauté” labels

Caution: These labels only guarantee that the product has not been tested on live animals but not that they are free of ingredients of animal origin in their formulation. The ban on testing cosmetics on live animals has been effective throughout the European Union since 11 March, 2013.

We have gathered the information for this section from the Vegan France association (unfortunately only availaible in French)

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