Vegetarianism and veganism are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. Between 2014 and 2019, the total number of vegans in Britain quadrupled. Tracking data from the UK government suggests that approximately 2-3% of the population of the UK now follows a vegan diet, representing more than 1.3 million in a population of over 68 million.
Michael Kern, Craniosacral Therapy teacher and former Osteopath, has been vegetarian for all of his adult life and is a strong proponent of a plant-based diet, motivated by a concern for animal welfare, health and environmental reasons. Many others have been inspired by the Veganuary project that encourages people to try a vegan diet for one month. You can learn more about Veganuary in the PDF attachment to this post.
YouGov recently completed a survey of 1,000 people in the UK in the country who are currently following a vegetarian or a vegan diet to find out more about their choices.
Reasons for Choosing a Plant-Based Diet
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the main reason cited for choosing to follow a plant-based diet is animal welfare, or concern for the way animals in the meat industry are treated. 70% of vegans surveyed and 63% of vegetarians stated that not wanting to eat animals as their primary reason for choosing to give up meat and animal products.
Concern for the environment is another popular motivating factor, with 53% of vegans and 32% of vegetarians citing this as an important part of their decision. A smaller percentage chose to reduce or cut out their consumption of animal products for personal health reasons, while others cited reasons such as being raised to be meat-free, encouragement from partners or other close friends and relatives or religious reasons.
You can see more statistics about veganism in the UK in the embedded infographic.
Reducing Meat and Animal Products
Most of the current vegans in the UK have adopted this lifestyle within the last five years. This shows a higher number of people looking for ways to improve animal welfare, and wanting to protect the environment, as well wanting other benefits of a vegan diet. While the percentage of vegans and vegetarians in the UK remains relatively small, studies are showing an increase in the number of people who are making small but significant changes to their diets, even if that does not mean entirely giving up meat and animal products.
You can see the short video attachment about the similarities and differences of veganism and vegetarianism.