The number of Brits turning to a plant-based diet is growing at a startling rate, as more and more are making the decision to go vegan. According to a survey by finder.com, over 2% of Brits are currently vegan – around 1,100,000 people. The poll results suggest that by the end of 2020, this number is set to double, increasing the vegan population to around 2,200,000.
While the number of vegetarians and pescatarians has remained very similar to 2019, research estimates that the biggest change statistically is veganism. The number of vegans in the UK increased by 419,000 (62%) over the past 12 months.
Record-Breaking Veganism Sign-Ups
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 2019 there were 250,000 participants signing up to the campaign. This year, the sign-ups for the Veganuary campaign saw a record number of 400,000 people signing up.
What’s more, 72% of them planned to continue with a vegan diet even after Veganuary. The main reasons for this decision included their increased knowledge about veganism, finding out that a vegan diet was easier than expected, as well as improved health.
For those who did not manage to stay 100% vegan for the whole month, 3 in 4 participants are very or extremely likely to try veganism again in the future.
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.
Over 600 businesses also took part in the campaign, and more than 1200 new vegan products and menus were launched nationwide. Fast-food giant KFC reported selling a staggering one million vegan burgers since launching the new option on 2 January. This is said to be the equivalent of one burger being sold every three seconds.
Pret a Manger says it is now selling twice as many vegan jam croissants a day as their non-vegan croissant option. Food delivery service Deliveroo said orders of vegan dishes had increased by 78% in January compared with last year.
Image Source: Fresh n’ Lean
UK’s Meat-Free Market
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.
Last year, the UK launched more vegan products than any nation as the number of vegans in Great Britain quadrupled between 2014 and 2019. Almost one in four food products launched in the UK in 2019 was labelled vegan.
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%.
As well as plant-based dining options, vegan beauty products are on the rise in the UK. Big British chains such as Primark, Superdrug and Sainsbury’s have released vegan cosmetic lines, with vegan beauty sales increasing by 38% in 2018 alone. Superdrug’s own brand vegan cosmetics saw a 750% sale increase in January 2019.
Veganism in the UK – Stats at a Glance
- Vegans and vegetarians look set to make up a quarter of the British population in 2025
- A record number of 400,000 Brits signed up to Veganuary in 2020
- The plant-based food market in the UK is worth £1.8 billion
- 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
- Vegetarian and vegan product sales are expected to increase to £658m by 2021
- 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 UK was the most popular country for veganism in 2019
- Nearly one in four products launched in the UK carried a vegan claim in 2019
- Brighton was the most popular British city for veganism in 2019, followed by Bristol, Norwich and Cardiff<
- Orders of vegan meals grew 388% between 2016 and 2018 and they are now the UK’s fastest-growing takeaway choice
- 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
In the mood for some plant-based cuisine? Have a look at our list of vegetarian restaurants for an unforgettable meat-free dining experience.