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General

  • Demand for meat-free food increased by 987% in 2017 and going vegan was predicted to be the biggest food trend in 2018. Sources: [1], [2]
  • Vegan trend quadrupled in the 5 years between 2012 and 2017, according to Google search. It now gets almost 3 times more interest than vegetarian and gluten free searches (see below).

 

  • If the world went vegan, it could save 8 million human lives by 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and lead to healthcare-related savings and avoided climate damages of $1.5 trillion. Source
  • We kill 2.7 trillion more fish every year than all humans that have ever existed. Source
  • Waterstones have 994 book titles with the word ‘vegan’ in them available for sale (as of August 2018). Source
  • A Mintel survey in March 2017 suggested that 11% of Britons have tried to follow a vegan diet at some point. Source
  • 'Vegan desserts' pins saved were up by 329% while ‘plant proteins’ went up by 417% on Pinterest in 2017. Source

Treatment of animals

Cows

  • Dairy cows have been modified to produce up to 10 times more milk than they would naturally. Source
  • Male calves are of no use to the dairy industry and generally less suitable for beef production. This means that every year around 90,000 male dairy calves are shot soon after birth and discarded as a by-product. Source
  • Domesticated cows have an average lifespan of 20 years, but on dairy farms they are killed after 5-6 years on average. Source
  • 30% of UK dairy cows have mastitis, a bacterial infection of the udder. Source

Chickens and other birds

  • Every year in the UK we slaughter around 950 million birds for food consumption, including chickens, ducks and turkeys. Source
  • 90% of chicken production in the UK is in intensive windowless sheds which house 20,000-50,000 chickens each. Sources: [1, p.10], [2]
  • 51% of eggs produced come from chickens in battery cages. Source
  • 40 million day-old male chicks are killed in the UK by either being gassed or being thrown into a macerator - this practice occurs in all egg farming systems, including organic. Source
  • Beak trimming is the permanent removal of part of the beak of a bird at a young age. This is standard industry practice in the UK despite being illegal in many European countries due to the pain it inflicts. Sources: [1], [2], [3, p.21]
  • Due to the incredibly fast rates of growth, farmed birds' young bones are unable to support them, breaking under the weight and strain of their disfigured bodies - resulting in painful lameness which prevents them from eating, drinking or even standing up. Many die from dehydration or starvation because they are unable to access food and water points. Source
  • A free-range egg farmer can legally house 16,000 birds in one building, meaning that they can house 9 birds per square metre of space. This means that many free-range hens live out their entire lives in an overcrowded indoor farming unit. Source

Pigs

  • Only 3% of UK pigs spend their entire lives outdoors. Source
  • 1/3 of pigs in the UK are killed in gas chambers. Source [p.28]
  • Around half of all antibiotics sold in the UK are used on farmed animals, with 60% of these being used on pigs. Sources: [1], [2]
  • There are around 11,000 pig farms in the UK. Around 1,400 of these units house more than 1,000 pigs each, and collectively hold around 85% of the total pig population in the UK. Sources: [1], [2]
  • Most pigs are entitled to less than one square metre of space each and the majority of sows (female breeding pigs) are kept in farrowing crates. Farrowing crates were made illegal in several countries across Europe, but are still standard farming practice here in the UK. Sources: [1], [2, p.4]

Fish and other sea animals

  • We kill between 1 and 2.8 trillion fish every year. This is 143-400x the amount of the entire human population. Source
  • 308,000 cetaceans are unintentionally drowned each year after becoming entangled in fishing equipment. Source
  • Farmed salmon has 10x the amount of cancer-causing organic pollutants than wild salmon. Source
  • Sharks kill 12 people per year. People kill 11,414 sharks per hour. Sources: [1], [2]

Sheep

  • Around 1.4 million sheep and goats are killed without being stunned each year in the UK using halal practices. Many people in the UK oppose this form of slaughter, yet purchase halal meat unknowingly, since it is sold in most major outlets, including supermarkets and takeaways, without always being labelled as halal. Sources: [1], [2]
  • Every year around 4 million newborn lambs die within a few days of birth, mainly because of malnutrition, disease or exposure to cold weather. Source
  • There are several different mutilations carried out on lambs. The males are castrated using elastration, a technique that involves a thick rubber band being placed around the base of the infant’s scrotum, obstructing the blood supply and causing atrophy. This method causes severe pain to the lambs who are provided no pain relief during the process. Lambs also have their tails docked using the same method. Source [p.2]

Vegan diet in the UK

  • The Vegan Society found there are 600,000 vegans in Great Britain in 2018, or 1.16% of the population. The number of vegans doubled from up to 150,000 (0.25%) in 2014 to 276,000 (0.46%) in 2016, and – incredibly - doubled again from the 276,000 (0.46%) in 2016 to 600,000 (1.16%) in 2018. This means the number of vegans quadrupled between 2014 and 2018. Source: The Food & You surveys, organised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the National Centre for Social Science Research (Natcen) and Ipsos Mori survey, commissioned by The Vegan Society, 2018
  • The Veganuary campaign - where people eat vegan for the month of January - grew by 183% in 2018, with a whopping 168,500 participants. In comparison, there were 59,500 participants in 2017; 23,000 in 2016; 12,800 in 2015; and 3,300 in 2014. Source
  • More than a quarter of all evening meals in the UK are vegan or vegetarian. Source
  • Over half (56%) of Brits adopt vegan buying behaviours such as buying vegan products and checking if their toiletries are cruelty-free. 50% of Brits said they know someone who is vegan. 1 in 5 Brits (19%) would consider going vegan. Source: Research carried out by Opinion Matters for The Vegan Society between 14 and 16 July 2017 involving a sample of 2,011 UK adults
  • Students are six times more likely to go vegan or vegetarian than their parents. Source
  • YouGov found in 2017 that 25% of millennials were either vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian, while 44% of all consumers are willing or committed to cutting out meat. Source
  • 28% of Brits identify as meat reducers and 73% have avoided or would avoid a restaurant due to its lack of non-meat options. Source 
  • 33% of British consumers have tried eating less meat to be healthier. Source: Mintel Healthy Lifestyles report - UK, October 2016
  • 35% of British consumers say they make a point of regularly having meat-free days (e.g. meat-free Mondays). 31% of British consumers say they have cut back on red meat in the last 12 months for health reasons. 25% of British consumers say that concerns about the environment have caused them to cut back on the amount of red meat they eat. Source: Unprocessed Poultry and Red Meat - UK, November 2016
  • Over a quarter (28%) of meat-eating Brits have reduced or limited their meat consumption in the six months to August 2017. Source

Growth of veganism - examples

  • Dairy giant Danone invested $60 million in dairy-free products. Source
  • America’s largest meat processor Tyson Foods invested in vegan brand Beyond Meat. Source
  • The line of 20 Wicked Kitchen vegan meals was rolled out at 600 Tesco stores at the start of 2018 and sold more than 2.5 million units in the first 20-week period ending in May 2018 — more than double the company’s sales projections. Source
  • Elmhurst Dairy, a century-old US company whose dairy milk could be found everywhere from Manhattan Starbucks cafés to 1,400 different public schools citywide, reinvented itself as a plant milk start-up in 2016 because – in its CEO’s words – “milk has sort of gone out of style” and he said he had worked to keep the plant open “long past the years that it was economically viable”. Source
  • Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers and HäagenDazs all offer vegan ice cream. Source
  • Ikea sells vegan meatballs worldwide. Source
  • McDonald’s has trialled a vegan burger, McVegan. Source
  • Burger company Bareburger announced that it will open a vegan chain and remove some of its meat options from the menu. Source

Business/Food sales

  • The UK market for meat-free foods was reportedly worth £572m in 2017. Source
  • The UK meat-free market is estimated to grow from £559m in 2016 to £658m in 2021. Source: Mintel ‘meat free food’ report, UK, May 2017
  • The global market for vegetarian/vegan products was worth $51 billion in 2016. Source
  • Vegetarian and vegan baby food is predicted to grow by 10.6% between 2016-2021. Source
  • The global vegan cheese market is expected to skyrocket to almost $4bn by 2024. Source
  • Through January 2018, one in 10 shoppers bought a meat-free ready meal, boosting sales by 15% compared to January 2017. Source
  • Waitrose launched dedicated vegan sections in more than 130 stores after increasing its vegan and vegetarian product range by 60%. Source
  • Meat substitutes grew by 451% in the European market in the four years to February 2018. Source
  • Between 2012 and 2016 there's been a 185% increase in the number of vegan products launched in the UK. Source
  • Online grocer Ocado enjoyed a staggering 1,678% increase in sales within its 'vegan' category between 2015 and 2016. Source
  • Dairy milk sales fell by around £240m between 2014 and 2016 in the UK. Source
  • Demand for vegan and vegetarian ready meals and snacks at Tesco grew by 40% from 2016 to 2017. Source
  • Fresh meat sales fell by £328m throughout 2016, a 7.3% decline (beef sales down £72m, pork lost £62m, sausages £51m, poultry £49m and lamb £21m). Cheese went down by £70m (2.8%). Free-from foods rose by £123m, with Alpro adding another £23m. Source
  • Sainsbury’s sales of its vegan cheeses surpassed the company’s predictions by 300%. Sources: [1], [2]
  • Veggie Pret was turning 70% profits increase within its first two weeks of operation, despite predictions that they would drop by up to 30%. Source
  • The amount of 'meat products' bought by families – sausages, bacon, poultry and meat-based ready meals - fell by almost 7% between 2012 and 2017. Source

Environment and sustainability

  • An Oxford University study in June 2018 – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet - found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland. Source
  • A 2018 Greenpeace report found that “global meat and dairy production and consumption must be cut in half by 2050 to avoid dangerous climate change and keep the Paris Agreement on track. If left unchecked, agriculture is projected to produce 52% of global greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades, 70% of which will come from meat and dairy.” Source
  • A plant-based diet cuts the use of land by 76% and halves the greenhouse gases and other pollution that are caused by food production. Source
  • A study published in Environmental Research Letters found that eating a plant-based diet has three times more impact than washing your clothes in cold water; four times more than hang-drying clothes or recycling; and eight times more than upgrading light bulbs. Source
  • 4 in 5 people are unaware that animal agriculture is a key cause of climate change. Source: Research carried out by Opinion Matters for The Vegan Society between 14 and 16 July 2017 involving a sample of 2,011 UK adults
  • Shopping locally and seasonally is important, but it pales in comparison to the impact you can have by changing what you eat. Sources: [1], [2]
  • We can always be more sustainable in our food choices, but an off-the-shelf vegan diet is the most sustainable of all diets. Source
  • A 2014 Chatham House report states: “The livestock sector is a major emitter of GHGs ... it is unlikely that global temperature rises can be kept below two degrees Celcius in the absence of a radical shift in meat and dairy consumption." Source
  • Meat grown using tissue engineering techniques, so-called 'cultured meat', could be produced with up to 96% lower greenhouse gas emissions, use 45% less energy, 99% lower land use, and 96% lower water use than conventional meat. Source
  • Three meat companies – JBS, Cargill and Tyson – are estimated to have emitted more greenhouse gases in 2016 than all of France. Source
  • A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change. Sources: [1], [2]
  • Henning Steinfeld, Chief of FAO’s Livestock Information and Policy Branch and senior author of United Nations’ Livestock's Long Shadow report, said in 2006: “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.” Source 

For more good statistics on the environment, please see this link.

Beauty

  • Vegan cosmetics launches increased by 175% from July 2013 to June 2018. Source
  • The sale of vegan prestige beauty products in the UK reported an increase of 38% in the 12-month period between February 2017 to end of January 2018. Source
  • Beauty brands with cruelty-free certification account for 20% of the women's face skincare and grew by 18% compared to the overall category which grew by only 7% in 2018. Source
  • 6% of beauty and personal care products launched in the UK in 2016 carried a vegan claim, up from 4% of products launched in 2012. 2.6% of beauty and personal care products launched globally in 2016 carried a vegan claim, up from 2.1% of products launched in 2012. Of all beauty products with a vegan claim launched in the UK in 2016, 31% were skincare products, 29% colour cosmetics, 23% hair products, 13% soap and bath products, 2% fragrances and 2% deodorants. Source
  • A Market Research Future report predicts a 6% growth in cruelty-free cosmetics in the years between 2017-2023. Source
  • The UK is the biggest reported user of animals in the EU with 3.9 million animal experiments reported in 2014. Source

Lots of facts and figures on animal testing can be found here. Please contact Cruelty Free International’s (formerly BUAV) press office with specific questions as this is their area of expertise.

Health

  • A global move to a vegan diet would avert 8.1 million premature deaths per year. Source
  • The World Health Organisation report in November 2015 ranked processed meat ranked as a group 1 carcinogen (the same category as cigarettes, alcohol and asbestos). Eating just 50g per day (two rashers of bacon) increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. It also classified red meat as a group 2A carcinogen. Source
  • Vegan diets have been linked to a 35% lower risk of prostate cancer. Source
  • High blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, is less common among vegans. Source
  • Body mass index and cholesterol levels are lower among vegans. Source
  • Those who eat seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables per day have a 33% reduced risk of premature death compared with people who eat less than one portion. Source

Vegan Society statistics

  • There was a 24% increase in Vegan Society membership from 2017 to 2018. The number of members throughout the years is as follows: 4009 in July 2014, 4616 in July 2015, 5578 at the end of 2016, 6917 at the end of 2017, and 7400 in April 2018. 
  • The first ever newsletter by The Vegan Society records that there were just 25 members.
  • Some 24,000 products spanning across 800 companies are currently registered with our Vegan Trademark. Out of these, over 11,000 are cosmetics and toiletries, produced by around 400 brands.
  • Around 75% of the Vegan Trademark business comes from companies based outside of the UK, with Germany having the most trademark holders, followed by Italy and then Spain. The Vegan Trademark covers 53 countries around the world.
  • Products made by companies such as Flora, Alpro, Asda, LUSH, Costa Coffee and Caffe Nero carry the Vegan Trademark.

Worldwide statistics

  • USA: 400 million fewer animals were killed in 2014 compared to 2007 because people were eating less animal products. Source
  • USA: Egg company Cal-Maine Foods reported a $74m loss due to vegan alternatives. Source
  • USA: 37% of Americans sometimes eat vegan or vegetarian meals when eating out. Source
  • USA: US retail sales of plant-based foods that directly replace animal products grew by 8.1% in the 12 months to August 2017. This is compared with a fall in sales of 0.2% for all foods sold across American grocery stores. Plant-based cheese alternatives were the fastest-growing category, enjoying an 18% growth. Source
  • USA: Vegan milk is predicted to represent almost a half (40%) of the dairy and dairy alternative beverages industry by 2021 - up from 25% in 2016. The non-dairy industry is predicted to be worth $28 billion - a staggering growth from only $6 billion in 2016. Source
  • USA: A 2013 Mintel survey showed that US consumers try meat alternatives for the following reasons: 33% - I think they are healthy; 31% - I enjoy the taste; 31% - I am trying to reduce my meat consumption; 30% - I'm adding protein to my diet; 23% - I'm adding variety to my meals. Source
  • Europe: Europe was the largest market for meat substitutes in 2016, accounting for 39% of global sales. Source
  • Germany: Germany is the global leader at vegan product development and launches, accounting for 15% of global vegan introductions between July 2017 and June 2018. Source
  • Germany: One in ten consumers buy meat alternatives, rising to one in five for Germans in the 16-24 age group. In 2005, only 1% of Germans considered themselves vegetarians; this has risen to 7%. Source
  • Sweden: Sweden saw its largest decrease in meat consumption for 30 years with a 2.6% drop in people eating meat in 2017. Source
  • Italy: Italy had the fastest growing vegetarian population over 2011-2016 with a growth of 94.4%. Source
  • Italy: Around half of Italian consumers say they are lowering their red meat intake, while 24% say they are increasing the amount of vegetarian processed foods in their diet. Source
  • Poland: Around 60% of Poles said they planned to cut back on their meat consumption in 2018. Source
  • Australia: Australia's packaged vegan food market is currently worth almost $136 million and is set to reach $215 million by 2020. Source
  • Southeast Asia: Between 2012 and 2016, new vegetarian and vegan product launches increased by 140% and 440% respectively in Southeast Asia alone. Source

​Please see this link for more US statistics.

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