THE RISE OF ve­g­an­ism

The num­ber of peo­ple tak­ing part in Ve­gan­uary - where peo­ple eat a ve­gan diet dur­ing Jan­uary - is soar­ing


There are more than three mil­lion ve­gans in Great Bri­tain, a num­ber that looks likely to rise.

Re­search from Com­pare the Mar­ket shows that 7% of the UK pop­u­la­tion classed them­selves as ve­gans in 2018 - work­ing out as around 3.5 mil­lion peo­ple.

Ve­gans shun all an­i­mal prod­ucts in­clud­ing milk, eggs, and meat, usu­ally for en­vi­ron­men­tal and an­i­mal rights rea­sons, and in­stead eat a plant-based diet.

Ve­g­an­ism has been on the rise in re­cent years with celebrity ad­vo­cates such as Paul McCart­ney and vi­ral doc­u­men­taries like Cowspiracy pro­mot­ing the trend - and it’s one that looks set to con­tinue in pop­u­lar­ity.

Ear­lier this month the high street bak­ery Greggs rolled out a ve­gan sausage roll across 900 of its stores, with some shops sell­ing out in a mat­ter of hours.

And ever more restau­rants like Pizza Ex­press and Wether­spoon are of­fer­ing ve­gan menus, while su­per­mar­kets stock up on their free-from se­lec­tions.

In fact, seven out of 12 UK train com­pa­nies now of­fer ve­gan op­tions to pas­sen­gers.

Ve­gan­uary is a trend that takes place ev­ery Jan­uary, dur­ing which par­tic­i­pants at­tempt to fol­low a ve­gan diet.

Fig­ures go back as far as 2014 when 3,300 par­tic­i­pants took part.

By 2016 that had risen to 23,000 par­tic­i­pants, and as of 2018 some 168,500 peo­ple took part.

Par­tic­i­pants in 2018 were asked to select the main rea­son for sign­ing up to Ve­gan­uary, with 43% say­ing that a con­cern for an­i­mal wel­fare was at the top of their list.

Health mo­ti­va­tions in­spired 39% of the par­tic­i­pants, and a con­cern for the en­vi­ron­ment was the pri­mary rea­son for 10% of par­tic­i­pants. The re­main­ing 8% had other mo­tives for sign­ing up. The NHS says that peo­ple can still get most of the nu­tri­ents they need by eat­ing a healthy diet. Ac­cord­ing to the Ve­gan So­ci­ety, al­most half (42%) of UK ve­gans made the switch in 2018, sug­gest­ing a rapid rise in the pop­u­lar­ity of ve­g­an­ism. Do­minika Pi­asecka, spokesper­son for The Ve­gan So­ci­ety, said: “The im­age of ve­g­an­ism is un­der­go­ing the most rad­i­cal change in its his­tory, while shed­ding some tired, old stereo­types.

“It’s no longer por­trayed as an un­usual life­style, it’s easy and ac­ces­si­ble - you can walk into any su­per­mar­ket and be greeted by a huge range of ve­gan-friendly prod­ucts or walk into any restau­rant and be pre­sented with an ex­cit­ing ve­gan menu.

“There has never been a bet­ter time to be ve­gan.

“Most peo­ple in the world have ac­cess to an abun­dance of ve­gan food - it’s just the case of mak­ing the choice.

“Eat­ing ve­gan food cer­tainly doesn’t have to be ex­pen­sive, and it is a huge mis­con­cep­tion that plant foods are more ex­pen­sive than an­i­mal prod­ucts.”

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