Today is a day for vegans worldwide to rejoice in their values and on the ever-increasing number of people cutting out meat in their diets. Here at Vegan Life, we thought we’d take a moment to present you with some newly found figures worth celebrating.
Veganism has jumped leaps and bounds in the UK this year, and is finally breaking into the ‘mainstream’, with committed high-profile meat-eaters like Gordon Ramsay and Nigella Lawson giving plant-based cooking a go. Staggering numbers of vegan restaurants have opened this year, making it more appealing and easy for people to eat-out vegan. Likewise, new vegan meal-delivery services are cropping up all the time.
New research from Bupa Global into the health, diet and lifestyle habits of people around the globe backs this up. Bupa Global found that 65 per cent of people in the UK have tried the vegan diet, which is significantly higher than the average across the world (only 16 per cent). Out of all the diets considered, veganism was found to be the most sustainable, and less of a diet choice and more of a lifestyle choice. The research (which looked at of 8,012 adults globally), found that the most popular reason for choosing a vegan diet was not moral or ethical issues, but to improve long-term health and wellbeing.
Dr. Soren Carstens, head of clinical operations at Bupa Global, the international health insurer, said: “There are many benefits of following a vegan diet, and our research shows that it is one of the diets that people stick to for the longest. Plant foods tend to be easier to digest, and planning meals can help you become more aware of what you’re consuming, thus leading to a healthier lifestyle.”
Bupa weren’t the only ones to run a study and come back with exciting results. According to a poll by by D-CYFOR conducted for World Vegan Day, an incredible 57 per cent of Brits believe veganism will become more popular in the future. When it came to people aged 44 and under, this number rose to 66 per cent, and 60 per cent for women. The D-CYFOR poll also revealed that nine per cent of non-vegan members of the general public said they are considering becoming vegan in the future. Ten per cent of men, and seven per cent of women said they were likely to become vegan, and those aged 18-34 most likely to make the change (18 per cent).
Both studies align with a survey conducted earlier in the year, by Harris Interactive for food trade journal The Grocer; it showed that the number of Brits ditching meat has tripled since 2012. Animal welfare proved the biggest motivating factor towards veganism, with 31 per cent of people changing diet because of the treatment of farmed animals. The impact on the environment was cited as the next leading factor, with 20 per cent abstaining from meat to help combat environmental destruction.
In Waitrose annual food and drink report, it was found that 21 per cent of shoppers are flexitarian, supplementing meat-dishes for plant-based where they can. The news shows progress from the days when a meal without meat was perceived as not worth eating. It’s fantastic to hear that UK consumers are deliberately reducing the amount of meat they eat, and more will hopefully move towards removing it from their diet entirely.
“This year, we’ve seen vegan food go mainstream. Whether cooking at home, buying prepared food or trying the newly vegan-friendly restaurants, people are discovering that it tastes amazing,” said Natalie Mitchell, Waitrose’s head of brand development.
The Waitrose report is based on research among shoppers across all British supermarket chains. Jonathan Moore, Waitrose executive chef, said: “Vegetarianism has grown and evolved. More people dip in and out of it. There was a time when choosing a plant-based diet was about taking an ethical stand based on unwavering principles. For many, this distinction between vegetarians and meat-eaters still exists but for others the lines have blurred.”
Nick Palmer, the head of Compassion in World Farming UK, has also commented: “It’s extremely encouraging to learn how many Britons are choosing to reduce their consumption of animal products. Science proves that the healthiest diet is one that is plant-heavy. By eating less meat, fish, eggs and dairy and choosing higher welfare when we do, we can all help animals, people and the planet.”
The results of all four studies are welcome numbers for vegans, because they show the massive progress that the UK and the rest of the world is making, with hopes that even more people will follow suit.
Here’s to veganism!