Netflix is Trying to Turn Us Vegan

From Okja to What The Health, Netflix is hitting us over the head with a pretty big message.


Documentaries that promote plant-based diets and discuss our North American eating habits are nothing new to Netflix. They’ve been on there for years if you look at things like Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, and Food, Inc among others. You’ll find that the number of titles that relate to dietary choices with a growing focus on pushing veganism is definitely in the double digits at this point. Despite the fact that these titles have been stacking up over the years, we can’t help but notice the number of people talking about the idea of turning vegan due to something that they’ve watched on Netflix is spiking.

There are two titles in the Netflix library that are really stoking the vegan conversation: family-friendly drama Okja and the documentary What The Health. Since this theme isn’t anything new, what is it about these titles that is making people get vocal about the subject? Why haven’t the many other titles in the Netflix library had this kind of affect on people?

Each of these films use a different tactic to really catch the attention of viewers. In What The Health, the host Kip talks to various professionals who promote vegan lifestyles and talk about how meat causes all kinds of health problems from diabetes to cancer. The use of “gotcha” journalism along with shocking interviews and stats around meat consumption all follow the same common thread of trying to ultimately scare the shit out of you.

On the other hand, Okja is a film that follows the ever adorable superpig and its friendship with Mija, who spends her days exploring and daydreaming out in the mountains and forests in South Korea. That is, until the company who technically owns Okja comes looking for the lovable pig so they can turn a profit and send her to the slaughterhouse. It makes Okja tug at the heartstrings of viewers and rethink their own relationships with the animals that people often consume.

Both use these tactics that frequently come up in marketing initiatives to appeal to the emotions of people and sell them on something. In this case, these tactics are causing people to think of their dietary choices in a different light and consider what they consume in a way that other Netflix shows and documentaries haven’t previously caused. Perhaps it’s because past documentaries acted more as an informational how-to and didn’t hit so hard on the emotional side of things.

The ripple effect from these two Netflix picks is big enough to leave us asking one big question, is Netflix coming for our bacon and trying to turn us all vegan?

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