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Veganism Growing Worldwide as Consciousness Rises

Worldwide growth of veganism

  • The sign-ups for the Veganuary campaign – where people eat vegan for the month of January – hit record highs in 2022, with over 629,000 people signing-up from 228 countries and territories. In comparison, there were 582,000 particpants in 2021, 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 just 3,300 in 2014. Sources: [1][2][3] 
  • In a 2021 global survey by NSF, 88% of food industry practitioners said that they expect demand for plant-based products to increase. 74% said they thought consumers choose plant-based for a healthier lifestyle, and 60% believed it’s to be more environmentally friendly.  Source 
  • In 2021, the UK was the most popular country for veganism, according to Google Trends, followed by Germany and Austria. Source 
  • 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 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 USA

Much more information about the vegan and 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 2022, Good Food Institute reported that, between 2018 and 2021, sales of vegan foods that are direct replacements for milk, meat etc. grew 54%. Source
  • In 2022, Good Food Institute found that the retail market for plant-based foods is worth $7.4 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 3 x faster than total food sales in 2021. 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 16% of the entire milk category (in dollar sales), and 35% of the total plant-based food market. Their sale grew by 33% between 2018 and 2021. Source
  • Plant-based meat sales grew 74% between 2018 and 2021. Source

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: “How Many Vegans?”, Ipsos Mori for The Vegan Society, 2016 and 2019; and The Food & You surveys, Ipsos Mori, organised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the National Centre for Social Science Research (Natcen).
  • In 2022, research by Ipsos found that 46% of Brits aged 16-75 are considering reducing their intake of animal products in the future. Source 
  • 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.
  • A 2020 study by Euromonitor International, 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 
  • In 2020, according to consumer advocacy group CHOICE, there are now more than 250 plant-based meat alternatives on the Australian market. Source
  • 55% of those surveyed by CHOICE who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet have been doing so for less than five years. Source
  • When asked about affordability, CHOICE found that 32% of Australians say the cost of vegan food is a barrier to adopting a fully vegan diet in the future. Source
  • According to CHOICE, 29% of Australians consume plant-based milk at least once a week. Source
  • Of those surveyed by CHOICE, about one in 10 (11%) would consider adopting a fully vegan diet in the next 5 years. Source
  • The research by CHOICE found that 18-34 year-olds are twice as likely to be vegan than the average Australian. Source
  • According to research by the University of Adelaide in 2020, one in five (19.8%) Australians were consciously reducing their meat intake. Source 
  • In 2019, according to data from Statista, Australia’s packaged vegan food market was worth almost $200 million and is set to reach $215 million by 2020. Source
  • In 2019, Vegan Australia estimates that there are about 400,000 to 500,000 vegans in Australia. Source
  • According to Mintel, a global marketing research firm, in Australia, 8.7 percent of new products are labelled vegan or as having no animal ingredients. Source

Europe

  • 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, according to data from NewNutrition Business, 4% of consumers across the region stated that they were vegan. Source
  • in 2020, Smart Protein Project found that 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 – an increase of 49%. Source 
  • In 2016, according to Allied Market Research, Europe was the largest market for meat substitutes, 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. 

Germany

  • In 2022, research by ProVeg found that 51% of Germans had reduced their meat intake in the previous year. Source 
  • 50,000 people in Germany signed up to Veganuary 2021. Source
  • Research by Euromonitor in 2020 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 
  • The Smart Protein Project report that the sales value of plant-based food In Germany (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 
  • The Smart Protein Project report that 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 
  • In 2018, Mintel reported that Germany is one of the global leaders when it comes to vegan product development and launches. Between July 2017 and June 2018, Germany accounted for 15% of global vegan introductions. 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 
  • In 2015, Mintel reported that one in ten German consumers buys meat alternatives, rising to one in five for those in the 16-24 age group. Source

Asia

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

Canada

  • In 2018, a Canadian survey conducted by Dalhousie University, estimated that 2.3% of Canadian adults considered themselves vegan. Source

China

  • According to a 2020 Ipsos MORI report, nearly 60% of people in China expect to eat fewer dairy and meat within the next year in order to limit their own contribution to the climate crisis. Source
  • In 2016, the Chinese health ministry released dietary guidelines that encourage their population of more than 1.3 billion people to reduce their meat consumption by 50%. Sources: [1], [2]
  • According to Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, Chinese consumers are twice as likely to purchase lab-grown and plant-based meats. Source

Denmark

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

Hong Kong

  • According to The Vegconomist, there are 21 vegan and vegetarian friendly Michelin star restaurants in Hong Kong. Source

Indonesia

  • In 2020, according to Float Foods, as many as 78% of Indonesians have tried vegan meat alturnatives. Source
  • The same research also found that 24% of the population are planning on adopting a vegetarian or plant-based diet. Source

Israel

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

Poland

  • In 2018, according to research by Smart Protein, the sales value of plant-based milk in Poland has increased from €26 million, to €43 million in 2020. Source 
  • In 2018, according to the Economist, around 60% of Poles said they planned to cut back on their meat consumption. Source
  • According to Uber Eats, since the company 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 America

  • According to a study by Ingredion in 2020, 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

Sweden

  • According to Statista, as of 2018, 7% of the population considered themselves to be vegetarian and 2% vegan. Source
  • In 2017, 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. Source
  • According to Statista, 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

Switzerland

  • In 2017, according to research run by DemoSCOPE, 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).
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