Vegan Statistics | Veganism Around the World

Worldwide growth of veganism

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» Worldwide growth of veganism

Please find below a selection of statistics about veganism, both in the UK and around the world.

Disclaimer: This is a collation of third party sources about topics connected to veganism. Some of the links are not to the original sources; we are sharing them to help journalists or researchers with their research and because they may form a helpful starting point.

Worldwide growth of veganism

  • The sign-ups for the Veganuary campaign - where people eat vegan for the month of January - hit record highs in 2021, with over 582,000 people signing up. In comparison, there were 400,000 participants in 2020, 250,000 in 2019, 168,500 in 2018; 59,500 in 2017; 23,000 in 2016; 12,800 in 2015; and 3,300 in 2014. In October 2020, Veganuary welcomed their one-millionth participant. Sources: [1][2]
  • Google searches for “vegan food near me” experienced a more than 5,000-percent increase in 2021. Source
  • The alternative protein industry raised $3.1 billion in investments in 2020 - three times more than in any single year in the industry's history. Source
  • Plant-based meat, egg and dairy companies received $2.1 billion in investments in 2020 - the most capital in any single year in the industry's history and more than three times the $667 million raised in 2019. Source 
  • Average annual growth in global food and beverage launches with vegan and plant-based claims grew 21% and 58% between 2015-2019, respectively. Source: Innova Market Insights, The Future of Plant-based September 2020. 
  • The UK was the most popular country for veganism in 2021, according to Google Trends, followed by Germany and Austria. Source 
  • The vegan leather market is set to take over the animal leather market by 2025, by this time it is set to be worth nearly $90 billion. Sources: [1][2]

Veganism in the UK

Behavioural changes

  • The number of vegans in Great Britain quadrupled between 2014 and 2019. In 2019 there were 600,000 vegans, or 1.21% of the population; 276,000 (0.46%) in 2016; and 150,000 (0.25%) in 2014. Sources: Ipsos Mori surveys, commissioned by The Vegan Society, 2016 and 2019, and The Food & You surveys, organised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the National Centre for Social Science Research (Natcen).
  • In May 2021, a survey by The Vegan Society revealed 1 in 4 Brits had reduced the amount of animal products they were consuming since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. 1 in 5 (20%) people said they had reduced the amount of meat they were eating while 12% said they’ve minimized their eggs and dairy intake. Source
  • 2021 research by The Grocer found 15% of UK consumers saying they had cut dairy from their diet completely and a further 42% had reduced their intake. Plus, 20% said they were buying more plant-based. Source 
  • In 2021, research by Appinio found that 63.5% of Brits have bought vegan food items in the past year and 50.8% are willing to replace meat intake with plant-based alternatives. Source
  • In 2020, 41% of Brits reported completely removing or actively reducing the amount of meat in their diet. In 2018, a separate study found this number to be 33.5%. Sources: [1][2] 
  • The number of vegan meals eaten at lunch or dinner soared 46% between 2019 and 2020. Source 
  • The number of vegan residents in UK care homes has almost trebled in the five years to 2019, with a total of 7,000 vegans and vegetarians within 11,000 care homes. Source
  • In 2019, Sainsbury's reported that vegans and vegetarians look set to make up a quarter of the British population in 2025, and flexitarians just under half of all UK consumers. Source [p. 6]
  • In 2018, GlobalData reported that almost half (42%) of UK vegans made the change that year, showing that veganism has been growing exponentially. 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

Vegan products and business

  • In 2021, the much anticipated National Food Strategy for England stated that developing and manufacturing alternative proteins in the UK, rather than importing them, would create around 10,000 new factory jobs and secure 6,500 jobs in farming (to produce protein crops and other inputs). Source [p. 125]
  • In 2021, the European Consumer Survey on Plant-based Foods, published by ProVeg International, found that the UK's purchase and consumption rates of vegan: milk, meat, butter/margarine, cheese, ready meals/food to go and seafood are the highest in Europe. Source
  • In January 2021, Asda supermarket trialled a fully vegan butchers counter at its Watford store with a range of plant-based meat products on offer. Source
  • In 2020, The Grocer reported 62% of adults in the UK had purchased plant milk. Source 
  • In 2020, ING reported that the UK buys a third of all the plant-based alternatives sold in Europe. Source 
  • 2020 became the year that every one of the top UK supermarkets (by revenue) had their own vegan range.
  • 2020 became the year that every one of the top UK restaurants / food-to-go outlets had a vegan (or plant-based) offering.
  • Between January 2020 and 2021, Deliveroo revealed its vegan takeaway orders shot up by 163%. Source
  • Between November 2019 and November 2020, vegan food orders via Deliveroo shot up 115%  Source
  • Waterstones have over 10,000 book titles with the word 'vegan' in them available for sale (as of January 2022) compared to 944 in August 2018. Source
  • In 2019, Plant Based News reported that those who eat meat spend £645 extra a year on food, compared to those on a meat-free diet. Source
  • In 2019, Mintel reported nearly a quarter of Brits consuming plant milk, up from 19% in 2018. Source
  • In 2018, Kantar Worldpanel reported that more than a quarter of all evening meals in the UK are vegan or vegetarian. Source
  • Oat milk is the most popular plant milk for tea drinkers, followed by hemp, almond and coconut milk. Source 
  • Mintel reported that in 2018, the UK launched more vegan products than any nation. Source
  • Demand for meat-free food in the UK increased by 987% in 2017 and going vegan was predicted to be the biggest food trend in 2018. Sources: [1][2]

Veganism in cities 

  • Research by Holland and Barrett shows Edinburgh and Bristol as the top vegan capitals followed by Manchester and London. Interest in vegan food peaks during December and January and is growing year on year as more people consider switching. Source 
  • In 2021, Brighton was found to be the most vegan-friendly city in the UK. It was also the most popular British city for veganism in 2019, according to Google Trends, followed by Bristol, Bathford and Norwich. Sources [1][2]

The rest of the world


  • In 2020, 13% of consumers across the region stated that they were vegan. Source
  • In Southeast Asia between 2012 and 2016, new vegetarian and vegan product launches increased by 140% and 440% respectively in Southeast Asia alone. Source


  • In 2019, Australia's packaged vegan food market was worth almost $200 million and is set to reach $215 million by 2020. Source
  • A 2020 study found 47% of Australians saying they are reducing their meat and/or milk intake, with a further 5% saying they are vegetarian and 3.4% vegan. Source 


  • A Canadian survey, conducted in 2018, has estimated that 2.1% of Canadian adults considered themselves vegan. Source
  • In 2020, a separate study found this had risen to 2.8% (plus, 4% of Canadians say they are vegetarian and 43% are reducing their meat and/or dairy intake). Source 


  • The Chinese health ministry released dietary guidelines in 2016 that encourage their population of more than 1.3 billion people to reduce their meat consumption by 50%. Sources: [1], [2]
  • Chinese consumers are twice as likely to purchase lab-grown and plant-based meats. Source


  • In 2019, research found that Denmark has seen a 320% increase in products described as vegan. Source 


  • According to a survey conducted by Globes and Israel’s Channel 2 News, 5% of Israelis were following a vegan lifestyle in 2015. Source 


  • The sales volume of plant-based food was estimated to be €425 million in 2020. Source 
  • Italy had the fastest-growing meat-free population over 2011-2016 with a growth of 94.4%. Source
  • 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
  • A 2020 study found 35% of Italians saying they are reducing their consumption of meat and/or milk, 3.5% saying they are vegetarian and 2.6% saying they are vegan. Source


  • The sales value of plant-based milk in Poland has increased from €26 million in 2018, to €43 million in 2020. Source 
  • Around 60% of Poles said they planned to cut back on their meat consumption in 2018. Source
  • Since Uber Eats launched in 2017, the number of vegan food orders has risen by 500%, placing the country second in Europe for plant-based online ordering, behind the UK. Source

South Africa

  • South Africa is the only African country with a sizable vegan following and the 23rd most popular destination for vegans in the world. Source

South America

  • South America: 90% of the region would be interested in consuming plant-based foods, driven by the desire to eat healthier and take care of their health. Source


  • According to research run by DemoSCOPE, in 2017, 3% of the population was estimated to be vegan, with 14% vegetarian. Source
  • According to Agriculture and Agri-Food CanadaSwitzerland has the second-highest rate of vegetarianism in the European Union (even though Switzerland is not in the EU, it was most likely included with the other EU countries for this study).

Veganism in the USA

Much more information about the plant-based food and drinks industry in the USA can be found through the Good Food Institute. We have summarised some of their findings below. 

Behavioral changes 

  • In 2018, a journal article stated that 2 in 3 Americans have stopped or reduced their meat consumption. Source 
  • In 2018, Google reported that there were as many people searching for vegan Thanksgiving recipes as there were people searching for turkey Thanksgiving recipes. Source
  • Faunalytics state that 72% of Americans oppose testing cosmetics products on animals. Source

Vegan products and business

  • In 2021, Good Food Institute reported that, between 2020 and 2021, sales of vegan foods that are direct replacements for milk, meat etc. grew 27%. Source
  • In 2021, Good Food Institute found that the retail market for plant-based foods is worth $7 billion, up from $5.5 billion in 2019. Source 
  • In 2021, 101data named the plant-based category as "category of the year", after it showed a 199% year-on-year growth for online retail. Source
  • Good Food Institute state that plant-based food sales grew almost 2.5x faster than total food sales from 2018 - 2020. Source 
  • The Impossible Whopper, launched in 2019 and hailed as "one of Burger King’s most successful launches in history", already accounts for 10% of all the Whoppers sold by Burger King in the US. Source [p. 124]
  • Plant milks make up 15% of the entire milk category, and 35% of the total plant-based food market. Their sale grew by 20% between 2019 and 2020. Source
  • Plant-based meat sales grew 45% between 2020 and 2019, and 72% between 2020 and 2018. Source

Environment and resources 

  • The Impossible Burger uses 96% less land, 87% less water, and emits 89% less greenhouse gases than "beef". Source 
  • 80% of all antibiotics sold in the US are for farmed animals - not to treat illness but to promote growth and preventatively due to the stressful conditions the animals are raised in. Sources: [1][2][3]
  • The United States Environmental Protection Agency state that a farm with 2,500 cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people. Source


  • In 2021, consumer research by Smart Protein Project found that The Netherlands and Romania had the most flexitarians, at 42% and 40% respectively. Much more information about European consumer attitudes towards plant-based foods can be found within the report. 
  • In 2020, 4% of consumers across the region stated that they were vegan. Source
  • Sales of plant-based food and drink products (vegan meats, plant milks, yogurts, cheeses, etc.) increased from €2.4 billion in 2018 to €3.6 billion in 2020 - an increase of 49%. Source 
  • There were 11,655 vegan food and drink businesses launched in Europe in 2019, an increase of 93% from 2016 which was 6,041. Source
  • Europe was the largest market for meat substitutes in 2016, accounting for 39% of global sales. Source
  • Much more information, including 2020 sales figures for plant-based products in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, and the United Kingdom, is available in the Plant-based Foods in Europe report by Smart Protein Project. 


  • 50,000 people in Germany signed up to Veganuary 2021. Source
  • The sales value of plant-based food (vegan meats, plant milk, cheese, etc.) grew by 97% between 2018 and 2020 (from €415 million to €817 million), while sales volume increased by 80%. Source 
  • Sales of plant milk alone were estimated to be €250 million in 2020. Oat milk showed the highest sales value and volume, followed by almond and soya. Source 
  • Germany is one of the global leaders when it comes to vegan product development and launches, accounting for 15% of global vegan introductions between July 2017 and June 2018. Source
  • One in ten consumers buys 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 rose to 7% in 2018. Source
  • A study run by the German Nutrition Society estimated that almost 1% of the population (around 810,000 people) were vegans in 2016. Source 
  • A 2020 study found 2.9% of Germans classing themselves as vegan (and a further 4.3% saying they are vegetarian, and 35% reducing their consumption of meat and/or dairy). Source 


  • According to the Swedish Board of Agriculture, Sweden saw its largest decrease in meat consumption for 30 years with a 2.6% drop in people eating meat in 2017. Source
  • As of 2018, 7% of the population considered themselves to be vegetarian and 2% vegan. Source
  • Among Swedes who are not vegetarians or vegans, the share of individuals being interested in vegetarian food increased in recent years from 27% in 2015 to 35% in 2018. Source
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