Claim: Being vegan is expensive


The claim here is that it's unreasonable to expect everyone to go vegan because it just costs too much

Problems With This Argument

1. Vegan food isn't actually more expensive

"Beans and rice" is synonymous with cheap living. If you don't believe that vegan food is cheap, I want you to consider the largest food retailer near my house in the Midwest, and the following prices I just grabbed (more or less by randomly searching) as of 12/11/2021 listed on their site (None of these items were on sale at the time), sorted by grams of protein per dollar since carnists are so obsessed with protein:

food size cost calories g protein cal/$ gprot/$ g protein/cal cholesterol
Kroger® Lentil Beans 16 oz $1.49 1993 163 1338 109 0.082 0
Kroger® Creamy Peanut Butter 1 lb $1.50 2548 99 1699 66 0.039 0
Kroger® Black Beans 16 oz $1.89 1553 104 822 55 0.067 0
Kroger® Grade A Large Eggs 12 ct $1.79 840 72 469 40 0.086 2220
Kroger® Naturally Hardwood Smoked Bacon 16 oz $5.49 2416 181 440 33 0.075 453
Simple Truth Organic® Extra Firm Tofu 15.5 oz $1.79 413 47 231 26 0.112 0
Kroger® Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenderloins 2.5 lb $9.99 1000 220 100 22 0.220 450
Boca Original Veggie Crumbles 12 oz $3.49 358 66 103 19 0.183 0
Kroger® Jumbo Russet Potatoes 8 lb $4.99 2863 78 574 16 0.027 0
Kroger 80% Lean Ground Beef 1 lb $5.49 1160 76 211 14 0.066 1160

This isn't to say that somehow vegan foods demolish carnist foods every time. But looking at that list, you'd be hard-pressed to say that vegan food is so much more expensive than carnist food. Especially given that 1. all those carnist food are heavily subsidized and 2. laden with antibiotics, cholesterol, and E Coli. If you go to grab more comparable products like antibiotic-free eggs, the price hikes by 55%, dropping it to 26 g protein/dollar, which is dead even with tofu.

This also does not constitute an endorsement of any product listed herein or the Kroger company. Look around at your own local food retailer. If their prices aren't online take some pictures of items in the store with your phone and then make your own spreadsheet. I'd be surprised if anyone walked away from that exercise thinking that vegan food is only for the rich.

2. Ethical Implications

Even though vegan foods are just not any more expensive than carnist food, you simply cannot justify torturing animals by saying "It's so economical". So what if your premade corn dogs now are double the price per ounce? Consider it a tax for never having to eat extruded pig rectum again.

3. Even if it were true it would be a poor excuse

Let's ignore that vegan food is no more expensive than meat and assume that food you eat at home is now 50% more expensive. The median cost for food is $8 a day, which over a year represents an increase of less than $1500, which is easily within negotiating distance on even a modest salary.

But if you go out to eat even once in a while then you'll easily steamroll this imaginary difference because vegan alternatives at a restaurant are always cheaper. A salad and a baked potato at a steakhouse will always be cheaper (and healthier) than the steak; the vegetable soup at a cafe will be cheaper (and healthier) than fried chicken. But even if you don't believe that, consider also that by the same source above eating out costs 4 times as much. That means this entire imaginary price hike could be negated by just eating one more meal at home than out per week.

4. Which is it?

Carnists will claim that their favorite restaurant isn't vegan. Given that eating out costs more than eating at home, the claim then contradicts one's own habits as it would save money to eat in.

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