In this phenomenal piece on veganism, this truth is brilliantly articulated:
Yes, veganism can be expensive — and so can eating meat and cheese. The real cost difference is in eating well rather than eating whatever. If you care about eating healthful, high quality food, plants are the cheapest way to go. (Compare the cost of an antibiotic-free, grass-fed steak with the cost of broccoli, beans, and whole grains like oats and brown rice.) This makes sense from a resource standpoint, since it’s inherently less efficient to feed crops to other animals so that we can one day eat these animals. We would save a lot of water, cropland, misery, and money if we just ate closer to the earth. Veganism gets a bad rap for being elitist and exclusionary, but the fewer animals we eat, the more people we can feed. When it comes to most animal products, we don’t see the real cost. The price tag for meat, eggs, and dairy is artificially low due to disproportionate government subsidies to those industries and to the corn and soy industries that support them. And the price we do see still excludes the environmental cost of these products.