The Rise of Veganism in the UK in Numbers – Update for 2019

Woman wearing vegan cap

The number of Brits turning to a plant-based diet is growing at a startling rate, as more and more are making the decisions to go vegan. According to a survey by, the number of vegans in the UK is set to skyrocket by 327% by 2020. 

Of the 2000 adults surveyed, nearly 1% of Brits are currently vegan – around 700,000 people. The poll results suggest that over the next year, 2.2. million people will adopt veganism, increasing the vegan population to around 2.9 million.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Brits sign up for the Veganuary campaign – a pledge to embrace plant-based diets for a month. According to the Vegan Society, in 2018 there were 168 500 participants signing up to the campaign. This year, the sign-ups for the Veganuary campaign nearly doubled with 250,000 people signing up. 

What’s more, many people extended Veganuary for the whole year. Almost half (42%) of UK vegans made the full switch to veganism in 2018.

The reasons for the switch to veganism vary, from concerns about the environment to personal wellbeing. The food and lifestyle trend is said to be most popular among younger generations. Food Revolution Network believes this is partly due to their increased availability of information via the Internet about where their food comes and how it’s made.

Vegan sandwiches
Image Source: Fresh n’ Lean

The UK meat-free market is set to grow at an exponential rate driven by increasing demand from vegans and vegetarians. The total value of the industry is expected to grow from £559m in 2016 to £658m in 2021.

The UK launched more vegan products than any nation as the number of vegans in Great Britain quadrupled between 2014 and 2018. Vegetarians (including vegans) are set to make up a quarter of the British population in 2025. 

Leading supermarkets and large-scale food manufacturers are offering more vegan-friendly options and entire vegan product lines to cater to the growing trend. Waitrose launched dedicated vegan sections in more than 130 stores after increasing its vegan and vegetarian product range by 60%. Sainsbury’s sales of its vegan cheeses surpassed the company’s predictions by 300%.

Veganism in the UK – Stats at a Glance

(Source: The Vegan Society)

  • 10% of British children aged eight to 16 are vegan or vegetarian
  • Those who eat meat spend £645 extra a year on food, compared to those on a meat-free diet.
  • 50% of Brits said they know someone who is vegan
  • 35% of British consumers say they make a point of regularly having meat-free days
  • The number of vegan residents in UK care homes has almost trebled in the five years to 2019
  • The total value of the UK plant-based market was £443m in 2018
  • Dairy milk sales fell by around £240m between 2014 and 2016 in the UK
  • Between 2012 and 2016 there was a 185% increase in the number of vegan products launched in the UK
  • Adverts for vegan job roles increased by 123% in 2018
  • 19% of people check if their toiletries are tested on animals
  • Superdrug’s own brand vegan cosmetics saw a 750% sale increase in January 2019

Veganism Rise in UK

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