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One in ten Swedes is vegetarian or vegan, according to study

The survey by Animal Rights Sweden showed a four per cent increase in people adopting meat-free lifestyles

One in ten people in Sweden is a vegetarian or vegan, a survey has found.

There has been a four per cent increase in the number of Swedes adopting a meat-free lifestyle over the past five years, according the study commissioned by Animal Rights Sweden (Djurens Rätt).

The largest percentage of vegetarians and vegans were in the Skåne and Stockholm areas.

In the poll conducted by Demoskop, six per cent of respondents said they were vegetarians, while four per cent said they were vegans. The highest prevalence was seen among 15-34 year-olds, with 17 per cent describing themselves as vegetarian or vegan.

Gabriela Turneborg, consumer director at Animal Rights Sweden, said in a statement: "It's pleasing that the figures have increased over the last five years, but I would have been surprised if they hadn't."

She added that there was a widespread increase in adopting a meat-free diet, with 37 per cent of the non-vegetarian respondents saying their interest in purchasing vegetarian products had increased over the past year. In 2009, the corresponding figure was 26 per cent.

Of those who identified themselves as vegetarian or vegan, 21 per cent said their decision was strongly influenced by their concern for animal welfare, while 28 per cent said this was partly a reason for adopting a meat-free diet, and 15 per cent said it did not affect their choice at all.

The study suggested more people are eating meat-free foods because there is an increasingly good range of vegetarian and vegan products in supermarkets and restaurants.

The survey was carried out in late February and Early March, with 1,000 respondents aged 15 and over interviewed by telephone.