Think vegans hug trees and grow hemp in their backyard? They do, but they also roll in a Tesla

and invest in the latest bio tech companies. The world of vegan has changed, along with the world itself. And it’s not just the food. So, too, has the lingo that accompanies this language of love for people, the planet and animals.

We’ve heard the terms vegan: someone who doesn’t eat meat or dairy and often doesn’t wear leather or use animal products; and plant-based: someone who doesn’t eat meat or dairy, usually for health reasons.

As taking animals out of the food and product supply becomes a major focus for a growing number of conscientious consumers, those terms only skim the surface.

Elysabeth Alfano is no stranger to the language of the plant based crowd. As Plant Powered Consulting Founder and host of the Plantbased Business Hour, The Plantbased Business Minute on Linkedin and The Plantbased Business Breakfast on Clubhouse, she helps companies navigate the plant-based landscape with marketing and media strategy. As the Co-Founder of VegTechTM: The Global Vegan Impact and Innovation IndexTM, Alfano is also helping to craft the conversation.  

Here is her green glossary.


Flexitarian: Someone who eats mostly veggies and plant-based foods, but doesn’t hold a hard and fast line. They eat fish and cheese and meat from time to time.

Veg Curious: The carnivore who is asking a lot of questions about what it is like to go vegan/ vegetarian/ flexitarian.

Reducetarian: A carnivore cutting back on meat. While they haven’t switched over to carrots, they are likely to purchase a product like plant-based pulled and chopped pork, Barvecue, to get the same meaty experience, without the meat.

VegSavvy: A chef who is skilled and creative when cooking vegetables.

Fiber: Ok, fair enough. This isn’t a new word, but it is an old word that is having a comeback. Worried about where you get your protein? That’s so 2019. In the words of four-time NBA champ, John Salley, “What you really should be worried about is where you get your fiber.”


VegEconomy: Refers to the ecosystem of vegan businesses run by vegans. The platform vKind is an example of an engine powering the VegEconomy, as is the one-stop-shop, on-line store with over 3000 vegan brands, Vejii. .

VegTechTM: Refers to businesses that are actively innovating to produce vegan products and/or take animals out of the supply chain.

VegTechTM: The Global Vegan Impact and Innovation IndexTM :  An index that tracks the list of publicly traded businesses that are actively innovating to produce vegan products and/or take animals out of the supply chain. The index gives an easily identifiable indicator of the health and invest-ability of this mission-driven sector.

AB-ESG: Animals, Biodiversity, Environment and Social Governance. Karner Blue Capital is an example of a company trying to get A & B included in ESG for impact and conscientious investing.

Mission Driven Job: A job in which a candidate can apply their skill set to a specific job and also be contributing to the overall goal of a company that is working to do right by people, the planet and animals. Companies like PassionPlacement.com are helping the growing number of people looking to switch careers to be in a mission-driven job. 

Techniques for Gettin’ It Done:

Precision Fermentation:  The process of taking genes from the cells of animals (or from a database) and growing them through the help of microbes (our friends that hang out in Kombucha and Kimchi) to become the same proteins that would have been in the animal… without the animal. Using that animal protein that isn’t from an animal, you can go on to make milk, ice cream (thank you, Perfect Day) and even cheese (Change Foods is cracking this code!)

Biomass Fermentation: Again with microbes or fungi, rather than growing proteins on a small scale, companies like Nature’s Fynd (ringing a bell? They were recently on 60 Minutes with Bill Gates) or Atlast Foods (stemming from the genius mind of Eben Bayer, Mushroom Designer in Chief at Ecovative Design) are growing whole foods at a pace and scale that put animal agriculture to shame. 

Cultivated Meat: (aka Cellular Agriculture): Growing the actual parts of meat desired from animal cells. Look no further than Aleph Farms.  

Plant-based protein: While people use this term to refer to plant-based foods or supplements as a source of protein, this technically refers to all protein. Humans and animals don’t make protein. Only microbes and plants make protein. Animals and humans get protein from eating plants.

Protein aisle: Bonus Prediction! The supermarket will no longer have a meat aisle and a vegan corner. Soon it will have the protein aisle with meat and plant-based options side by side making it much easier on the consumer to find what they want. Walter Robb, Former Co-CEO of Whole Foods



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