Number of vegans in UK soars to 3.5 million, survey finds

Seven per cent of British people have gone plant-based

Olivia Petter
Thursday 05 April 2018 19:51 BST
Roots manoeuvre: in 2016 it was reported there were only 540,000 vegans over the age of 15 in Britain
Roots manoeuvre: in 2016 it was reported there were only 540,000 vegans over the age of 15 in Britain (Getty/iStockphoto)

Veganism has skyrocketed in recent years, with more people than ever before choosing to enjoy a plant-based life.

However, this is not simply a case of a few evangelical legume-lovers ordering chickpea sandwiches in Pret A Manger – according to a new survey by there has been a significant spike in the number of people going vegan in the UK since 2016, with more than 3.5 million British people now identifying as such.

The research means that seven per cent of Great Britain’s population are now shunning animal products altogether for life less meaty – and cheesy.

The statistics show a substantial increase since those published by The Vegan Society and Vegan Life magazine in 2016, which revealed there were roughly 540,000 vegans over the age of 15 living in Britain.

Supported by Gresham College professor Carolyn Roberts, the research suggests that environmental concerns are largely responsible for edging people towards a vegan diet, as people strive to reduce their carbon footprint.

Prof Roberts believes that a shift in diet might even be more environmentally beneficial than other eco-friendly measures, such as reducing petrol and diesel car usage.

“From farm to fork and beyond, food accounts for about 20 per cent of all our greenhouse emissions,” she said.

“Estimates suggest that if all of our meat eaters switched to a vegan diet, it would roughly halve total greenhouse gas emissions associated with food.

Amongst the UK’s 3.5 million vegans are a number of high-profile celebrities such as Ellie Goulding, Paul McCartney and David Haye, whose advocation of veganism is undoubtedly partly to thank for the diet’s shift from a niche, yoga-synonymous subculture into the mainstream.

It’s only a matter of time until these famous faces join forces to launch a “Go vegan, or go home” clothing line.

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