friends celebrate food (1)
Writer and Editor | London, UK | Contactable via: jemima@livekindly.co

New data revealed the number of vegans in the UK now exceeds three-and-a-half million, or 7% of the population. These figures indicate that veganism has seen a 700% growth in just two years.

Recent research by comparethemarket.com uncovered how many people living in the UK identify as vegan, finding that the number has jumped dramatically since 2016. Data circulated two years ago which said that 542,000 people aged 15 and over – just over one percent of the population – identified as vegan. The information also showed that 1.14 million people in Britain were vegetarian.

These figures were named “record numbers” by the Telegraph, having boosted more than 360% in the past decade.

advertisement - about this ad

However, the most recent data now states that an impressive 7% of the UK’s population is now vegan, suggesting a 700% increase in the past two years alone. Further, 14% of Britain’s population – more than seven million people – are now vegetarian.

Similar surges in veganism have been noted around the globe. Recent research found that the number of vegans in America had increased by 600% in three years. Other data revealed that roughly 8.7% of Australia’s population now follow a plant-based diet. Similar shifts in dietary and lifestyle patterns have been witnessed in Germany and China, among other locations.

The BBC reported that ‘Veganuary’ “helps boost vegan numbers in the UK”. Veganuary, the initiative which sees people pledging to trial veganism for the month of January, saw a record number of participants this year. One-hundred-thousand people signed up, with 62% of those involved stating they had stayed vegan after the campaign.

Animal welfare was the most popular reason that people signed up for this year’s Veganuary, and continues to be a major driving factor behind the growth of veganism.

A more “environmentally conscious public” is also said to be behind the changes in the UK, as awareness surrounding the sustainability of animal products continues to grow. A poll conducted in February this year found that almost half of young adults were concerned about the environmental impact of meat.

Health concerns also drive the movement, as awareness grows surrounding the health risks of meat, dairy, and egg consumption.

February data revealed that 30% of meals in the UK are now meat-free, causing veganism to no longer be considered a niche market, but to be labelled as “mainstream”.