Vegan Statistics

Vegan Statistics

Vegan and plant-based diets are on the rise in the United Kingdom and across the globe. Supermarkets and retailers are stocking up and upping their product ranges to cater to the growing market.

 

Even Veganuary, the global January campaign to get people to pledge to go on a vegan diet for the month, has grown significantly in 2021. As of now, more than 440,000 people have already signed-up for the 31-day vegan challenge, easily surpassing 2020’s total of 400,000.

 

With veganism on the up, we were curious about the state of veganism in the UK and the vegan food market. So, we’ve gathered some key facts and statistics about veganism and plant-based diets in the UK, including:

 

  • How many people in the UK follow a meat-free diet
  • Veganism by UK region
  • Barriers to becoming vegan, such as attitudes and opinions
  • How much a vegan diet costs
  • The Value of the vegan and plant-based food market
  • Household spend on plant-based diets
  • And even more.

 

Here’s what we found:

 

The Rise of Veganism

How many vegans are there in the UK?

According to the latest research from the Vegan Society, as of 2019, there were 600,000 vegans in the UK, accounting for 1.16% of the population.

 

The UK’s current diet at the start of 2021

86% of the population are meat-eaters.

According to one survey, 86% of the population currently have meat in their diets. Of the plant-based and non-meat diets, the vegetarian diet is the most common (6%), followed by the pescatarian diet (5%) and then the vegan diet (3%). This means that around 9.4 million British adults currently follow a meat-free diet.

 

Current diet % of population
Meat 86.4%
Vegetarian 6.0%
Pescatarian 4.7%
Vegan 3.0%

 

The UK’s planned diet for 2021

26% of British people plan to ditch meat by the end of the year.

Combined with those who already follow a meat-free diet, there could be 17 million British people (26%) who are vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian by the end of this year. If those who plan to ditch meat follow through with their diet, around 1 in 10 people in the UK (11%) will be following a vegetarian diet, 8% will follow a pescatarian diet and 7% will be following a vegan diet.

 

Intentions by the end of 2021 % of population
Meat 74.10%
Vegetarian 11.30%
Pescatarian 7.90%
Vegan 6.90%

 

What region of the UK has the most vegans?

Vegans in the UK (by region)

The largest share of vegans in the UK is in Inner London, with 4%.  Parts of Yorkshire and Humber and Outer London tie for second, each with 2% of the share of vegans in the UK.

 

Region Share of population
Inner London 4%
Yorkshire and the Humber 2%
Outer London 2%
East Midlands 1%
North West 1%
North East 1%
South East 1%
Wales 1%
Scotland 1%
West Midlands 1%
East of England 1%
South West * 0%

 

Which generations are ditching meat?

Share of people on a meat-free diet in the UK (By Generation)

 

Over 25% of generation Z is ditching meat in 2021, while about 15% of both Millennials and Generation X are doing the same.

 

Generation % ditching meat in 2021
Generation Z (18-23) 25.9%
Millennials (24-42) 15.5%
Generation X (43-54) 14.8%
Baby boomers (55-73) 5.2%
Silent generation (74+) 4.2%

 

What are the reasons for going vegan?

Reasons for wanting to ditch meat in the UK

51% of respondents said they were vegan for ethical motivations, while 46.6% said it was because it contributed to a healthier lifestyle. 29.2% of UK respondents said they were vegan for religious reasons. Just 16.1% of people said allergies were the reason for going vegan.

 

Why do people stop being vegan?

The main reason for abandoning the vegan diet in the UK

The biggest reason for quitting the vegan diet by UK respondents was the inconvenience, whether it’s time, lack of choice, or availability, with 29.8% responding that way. This was followed by other health reasons (22.2%) and then temptation, or lack of willpower and motivation (14.2%).

3.6% of respondents simply said "cheese".

 

Reasons Share of respondents
Inconvenient - time consuming/lack of choice/availability 29.8%
Health - other* 22.2%
Temptation/lack of willpower/motivation 14.2%
Temporary intention 8.4%
Social/interpersonal 6.2%
Health - protein & energy levels* 4.4%
Expense 4.4%
Lost faith 4%
Cheese 3.6%
Health - disordered eating* 2.7%

 

Online Interest in Veganism

Most popular vegan and vegetarian search terms in the United Kingdom

From January to February 2019, there were about 110,000 searches for "vegetarian recipes" in the UK. The second most popular search term was "vegan recipes", which was searched around 90,000 times

 

Search term Average UK searches*
Vegetarian recipes 110,000
Vegan recipes 90,500
Vegan cake recipe 14,800
Healthy vegetarian recipes 12,100
Are oats gluten free 9,900
What do vegans eat 8,100
Vegan snacks 6,600
Best vegan recipes 4,400
What is a vegan diet 3,600
Best vegan cookbooks 1,900
What foods are gluten free 1,000
What chocolate is vegan 720
Why should I go vegan 110

 

Top 10 countries with the highest interest in the term “Vegan” on Google (Over the past 12 months)

  1. United Kingdom
  2. Australia
  3. New Zealand
  4. Canada
  5. Ireland
  6. United States
  7. Austria
  8. Germany
  9. Netherlands
  10. Switzerland

 

Barriers to Going Vegan

What stops people from going vegan?

Health concerns about becoming vegan in the UK (By Gender)

 

More women (52.9%) than men (47.1%) reported having health concerns about becoming a vegan.

 

Yes No
Male 47.1% 54.4%
Female 52.9% 45.6%

 

Perception of Vegans

 

10% of respondents in the UK said they have a broadly negative view of vegans

 

Perception Share of respondents
Broadly positive 40.7%
Neutral 49.3%
Broadly negative 10%

 

Opinions on veganism among shoppers

Around 33% of polled British shoppers said that there was too much hype about veganism and plant-based eating at the time of a survey. Furthermore, 27% wished vegans were not so aggressive in pushing their views.

25.1% feel that the meat industry is not doing a good enough job addressing concerns about animal welfare, health and sustainability.

About 18% were confused about whether or not a plant-based diet is healthier and more ethical than eating meat.

 


Where are the most vegans in the world?

In 2016, 9% of respondents from Asia Pacific followed a vegan diet, while people from North America and Europe were the least likely to be vegan, with just 2% of respondents from each place indicating that they follow a vegan diet.

 

Share of respondents
Asia Pacific 9%
Africa/Middle East 6%
Latin America 4%
North America 2%
Europe 2%

 

The Vegan Market

Fast Facts:

  • In 2018, the UK produced more new vegan products than any other country, knocking Germany off its number one spot.
  • In 2018, the global vegan food market was worth $12.7 billion and is on track to reach $24.06 billion by 2025.

 

Vegan Foods on the rise:

  • Vegan food trends show a notable one-year increase in sales for vegan yoghurt, which rose by 39%, vegan cheese, 19%, and vegan ice cream, 27%. 
  • The global market for alternative dairy drinks is currently $18.12 billion.
    • In 2010, this industry was at just $7.4 billion, making this a dramatic increase. By 2024, it’s projected to reach $34.5 billion.

 

How much is the vegetarian food & drink industry in the UK worth?

Sales of vegetarian food & drink products and plant-based alternatives in the UK

Sales of vegetarian food and drink products in the UK were £657 million in 2017. When the category is combined with plant-based alternatives sales, sales increased to £885 million.

In 2018, the estimated retail sales of both came to one billion pounds.

 

 

Year Vegetarian products Vegetarian & plant-based alternatives
2018 - 1,000
2017 657 885
2016 574 -
2015 600 -
2014 668 -
2013 668 -
2012 613 -
2011 573 -
2010 541 -

How much do UK consumers spend on chilled vegetarian products?

 

Chilled vegetarian foods: Market value in the UK

In 2019, about £124 million was spent by consumers on chilled vegetarian products in the United Kingdom, up from almost £99 million in 2018.

 

Spend in million GBP
29 Dec 2019 123.93
30 Dec 2018 98.51
31 Dec 2017 82.44
01 Jan 2017 73.66
03 Jan 2016 65.61
01 Feb 2015 58.12
02 Feb 2014 54.71
03 Feb 2013 51.07
08 Jan 2012 47.45
25 Dec 2011 48.15
26 Dec 2010 48.33
27 Dec 2009 45.28
30 Nov 2008 48.24

 

How much does a Vegan diet cost?

On average, the vegan diet costs £2,073 per year.

 

Diet Cost per year
Vegan diet £2,073
Diet that includes meat £2,002
Pescatarian diet £1,973
Vegetarian diet £1,545

 

How much do European households spend each year on meat substitutes?

Average household expenditure on meat substitutes

Of the European countries considered, Swedish households spend the most on meat substitutes (15.57€), followed closely by the United Kingdom (15.37€). Households in the Netherlands spend just under 13.50€ on meat substitutes in 2018.

 

Average household expenditure in euros
Sweden 15.57€
United Kingdom 15.37€
Netherlands 13.48€
Finland 12.04€
Denmark 11.62€
Belgium 10.31€
Germany 5.32€
France 4.99€
Norway 3.79€

 

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