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.”