Viral “Online Eating” Movement Spreading Veganism

Vegan participants use new South Korean Mukbang movement as platform for explaining the benefits of compassionate eating.


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The Mukbang movement—a South Korean phenomenon started in 2014, which translates to “eating broadcast”—is gaining traction amongst vegan participants. The basis of the movement is for people to connect with each other by filming themselves eating large meals and broadcasting the video to online followers. United Kingdom-based vegan couple Darren and Georgie Spindler—founders of YouTube channel Vegan Fitness TV—recently became “mukbangers” by filming themselves consuming a large vegan meal of pressure-cooked millet, steamed broccoli and carrots, and Linda McCartney’s meatless sausages. In addition to explaining the contents of their meal, the couple offered information about why they choose to eschew animal products. The impetus for the movement has been linked to urban isolation, which makes watching people eat in social settings enjoyable. “We are in a journey together,” Georgie says. “Above all, we share our meals on camera to inspire others.” Qatar Computing Research Institute data scientist Yelena Mejova explains that this format of communication creates an accessible point of entry for others interested in—but intimidated by—veganism. “In the end, it is really about the social connection,” Mejova says. “Your behavior starts to be very similar to whoever is in your social network and also to people you follow online.” Various forms of social media—including YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram—have been credited for the widespread appeal of the vegan lifestyle.

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