As more issues with consuming animal products continue to come to light, we’re growing increasingly aware and concerned with what, or who, we’re eating. From health concerns and environmental issues to the the suffering of millions of animals who are raised and killed for food every year, there’s no shortage of reasons to ditch animal products.

The good news is it’s never been easier to make compassionate food choices than it is today. While a number of major companies have announced changes in their animal welfare policies, many others have gone further by making vegetarian and vegan-friendly options widely available to mainstream eaters, and it looks like it’s going to pay off in the long run.

Research has shown plant-based dairy alternatives are projected to reach $19.5 billion in sales worldwide by 2020 and continues to show a growing number of people are interested in plant-based options when it comes to swapping out products like meat and eggs. Numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture also show that between 2007 and 2014, 400 million fewer animals were killed for meat because we’re eating less of it.

It’s clear that companies are paying attention, and they’re tapping into this market and addressing customer demand. Last year we saw animal-friendly changes from companies including Wendy’s, Chipotle, White Castle, TCBY and Dunkin’ Donuts, among others, but this year even more have joined in.

5 Companies That Made Ditching Animal Products Easier Than Ever This Year

Panera Bread announced some big changes to its animal welfare policies, but most importantly, the company is embracing the demand for plant-based proteins and has added alternatives like edamame and quinoa to its menu.

Guinness announced it’s going vegan-friendly after 256 years and that as of 2016, it’s beer will no longer contain isinglass, a product that is derived from fish bladders and used in the filtration process.

Taco Bell launched a new menu, featuring 13 items that are certified by the American Vegetarian Association, making it the first national fast food chain to do so. Even better, the menu can be hacked, which allows customers to create a variety of both vegetarian and vegan-friendly options.

Ben & Jerry’s announced it will be creating non-dairy ice cream flavors that will be 100 percent vegan. The company hasn’t said what the new flavors will be, but they’re expected to be available next year.

Ikea began offering vegan meatballs, formally known as GRÖNSAKSBULLAR, earlier this spring, in an effort to offer “a wider variety of nutritious and more sustainable food choices.”

Hopefully the coming year will bring even more positive changes that benefit us and the earth as we continue to make different choices in support of a world where we recognize animals for who they are and acknowledge their right to live free from harm.

Source: 5 Companies That Made Ditching Animal Products Easier Than Ever This Year | Care2 Causes