There are many misconceptions when it comes to the vegan lifestyle. Although it’s been around for centuries, the growing desire for a healthy, modern lifestyle has helped make significant inroads in the recent vegetarian and vegan statistics.
Some vegans choose to convert due to dietary changes and health needs, while others do so because they don’t want to contribute to the abuse of farm animals and the use of animal products. Many choose a vegan lifestyle because of the environmental impact that livestock farming produces, not to mention its impact on climate change overall.
Below, we’ve compiled and illustrated the key unbiased statistics on the vegan and vegetarian lifestyle and trend, including past, current, and future expectations. But first, a quick glimpse of what you’ll find in and below the infographic.
A Quick Overview of the Top 10 Vegan and Vegetarian Statistics
- Vegan diets are linked to a 35% reduced risk of prostate cancer.
- 45% of the Earth’s land is used for farming livestock in some way.
- As of 2018, the size of the global vegan food market was calculated to be worth $12.69 billion.
- Plant-based meat covers 2% of all packaged meat options.
- 38% of the population in India is vegetarian.
- According to the vegan statistics, more than 39% of people in the United States are adding more vegan food options to the dishes they eat.
- It’s expected that the market for vegan meat alternatives will hit $7.5 billion globally by 2025.
- The market for baby food that’s vegan or vegetarian will jump by 10.6% between 2016 and 2021.
- Europe represents 39% of the global market for meat alternatives.
- The most mainstream vegan food option is vegan junk food.
What Is the Vegan Lifestyle?
Before we go into the statistics, it’s essential to understand what it means to be vegan. A vegan’s diet consists of anything that doesn’t come from an animal. They don’t eat meat, fish, poultry, or any other animal by-products, such as eggs or milk.
Today, alternatives for all these animal products have been found, such as almond and soy milk, as well as tofu. As more people show interest in a vegan diet, more recipes to replace nonvegan foods have become available, and more restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan dishes.
1. It’s hard to estimate how many vegans exist in the world today, but based on individual statistics by country, it’s about 0.1%.
There are many forms of veganism, and many can’t tell the difference between a vegetarian vs vegan diet, making it difficult to determine the numbers in some regions. Nevertheless, some of the most vegan countries report as much as 8% of the population following a vegan diet.
2. There are 5 different types of vegans.
According to the vegan facts, they’re grouped based on the types of vegan food products they consume. There are dietary vegans (plant-based dishes), junk-food vegans (heavily processed vegan food like desserts, frozen dinners, vegan meats, and fries), low-fat vegans (fruitarians , those who don’t consume high-fat foods), raw-food vegans (raw, dried, or cooked at low temps), and whole-food vegans (rich in whole foods like fruits, whole grains, nuts, etc.).
3. Vegan food consists of anything that isn’t meat or an animal by-product.
The most common vegan foods are primarily veggies, fruits, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, seitan, tempeh, and tofu. Vegans don’t eat red meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, honey, dairy, or any other animal by-product. Also, vegans usually won’t use any animal products such as leather or products that were tested on animals.
4. Following the vegan health benefits, statistics and research reveal that they outweigh the drawbacks.
There are many concerns about the drawbacks of turning to a vegan diet. These downsides include a higher stroke risk, choline crisis , mood problems, and hair loss. Although they seem frightening, with the right nutrient intake and vitamins, they can easily be avoided.
But the benefits of just eating extra vegetables and fruit are profound and include a longer life, improved heart health, weight loss, and reduced risk of diabetes, just to name a few of the important ones. Everything comes down to the quality of the food consumed and balanced nutrition.
5. Vegan health statistics reveal that this diet can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 23%.
A 2019 Harvard study of 300,000 participants revealed that a vegan diet drastically reduces the chance of getting type 2 diabetes. Senior Professor Qi Sun shared that sticking to plant-based diets reduces the risk of diabetes, especially when only the healthiest plant-based diets are followed, which include nuts, legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
In 2016, scientists from Loma Linda University in California researched 26,000 men and assessed the potential link between various diets and prostate cancer. The study compared vegan, pescatarian, and vegetarian diets. It revealed that vegan is the most effective. With more than 47,000 new cases of prostate cancer and 10,000 patients dying every year in the UK, this finding could be groundbreaking. In men, this is the second most common cancer. Furthermore, there are some recent cancer statistics that show a low vegetable and fruit intake are real cancer risk factors.
7. Vegetarian stats reveal that over 50% of those who choose to go vegetarian or vegan do so to protect animal welfare.
A survey of 1,040 adults in Britain revealed that the most common reason for them to give up eating meat is animal welfare. About a third of non-meat-eaters note the environment, health, and taste each as strong reasons for their dietary choice. Concerns for antibiotics are noted by approximately 20% of vegetarians or vegans, and less than 10% include weight management as a reason for choosing this lifestyle.
Veganism and the Environment: Facts and Statistics
Protecting the environment has always been in the spotlight. Part of why veganism is good for the environment is that livestock requires a lot of energy, land, water, and food. The environment is also impacted by the by-products and emissions of animal agriculture, which pollute the air and water.
8. Over 80% of all farmland is used for livestock.
A study published in Science reveals that even though 83% of the land that’s farmed is used for livestock, it only produces 37% of the protein consumed in an average diet. The database used for the study consists of 40,000 farms in nearly 120 countries.
9. The vegetarian statistics from a recent study reveal that animals raised for dairy and meat account for only 18% of the calories consumed in an average diet.
The raising and production of meat and dairy cause 60% of the greenhouse gas emissions produced by farming and agriculture, yet these products account for only 18% of the calories in most diets. The same analysis also reveals that it accounts for nearly 70% of all agriculture-related air pollution.
10. 45% of the Earth’s land is used for livestock in some way.
Adding to the veganism facts proving that this lifestyle is better for the environment, nearly half of the Earth’s surface is dedicated to livestock, which is valued at a whopping $1.4 trillion.
11. If everyone were vegan, only 540 million hectares of land would be used for agriculture, in comparison to the 1.5 billion hectares currently used.
(Veganism Impact Report)
If everyone chose to go vegan today, there would be a drastic change in land use for agriculture. Additional vegan environmental facts reveal that if only 60% of the world’s population were vegan, 924 million hectares would be used for agriculture, with 52% of its usage reserved for livestock.
12. In 2018, agriculture produced 13.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases. However, this sum would drop by 70% if everyone became vegan.
(Veganism Impact Report)
The same Veganism Impact Report further shares that if just 60% of the world population became vegan, there would be a 42% decrease in emissions.
Vegan Trends and Growth
Is veganism growing? With so many reasons for people to turn to veganism, interest and awareness continue to grow. As a result, the demand for vegan food options has risen, impacting food markets worldwide.
13. As of 2018, the value of the global vegan food market was calculated to be $12.69 billion.
(Grand View Research)
Greater knowledge of the benefits offered by a vegan diet is one of the main factors supporting the current and continuous growth of the market for vegan foods. This, combined with increased concern for animal welfare and specifically awareness of animal cruelty in the food industry, has encouraged more and more people to cut meat and animal products from their lives.
14. Another important vegan food market statistic reveals that there was a growth of 11% in the plant-based food sector as of April 2019.
Data compiled over a 52-week period reveals that the retail food market grew by only 2% overall, while the plant-based food market grew by 11%.
15. By 2025, the vegan food market’s magnitude will hit $24.06 billion.
(Grand View Research)
As the vegan population grows, more athletes and celebrities turn to a vegan diet. As they share their experiences, their many followers also see the benefits of this lifestyle.
16. As of 2018, vegan stats further reveal that North America represents the largest regional market for vegan foods.
(Grand View Research)
North America holds the most significant regional share at 31% of the worldwide market. However, it’s projected that the Asia Pacific region will take the lead, with a projected GAGR of 12.1% between 2019 and 2025.
17. In the United Kingdom in 2017, there was a 987% increase in the demand for meat-free food.
The UK takeaway service Just Eat conducted a survey revealing that 2018’s big food trend would be new vegan products, driven by health-conscious consumers.
18. Vegan food trends show a notable one-year increase in sales for vegan yogurt, which rose by 39%, vegan cheese, 19%, and vegan ice cream, 27%.
Statistics reveal that while sales of traditional animal dairy products show almost no gain, vegan food options continue to expand at a rapid rate. It’s expected that this is just the beginning of what will be a massive growth period for vegan food options.
19. Another vegan fact is that plant-based meat represents 2% of all packaged meat options.
It may not seem like a lot, but plant-based meat is an $800 million industry with sales up by 10% and growing. Animal-based meats grew by only 2% in the same year.
20. The global market for alternative dairy drinks is currently $18.12 billion.
(Food Ingredients 1st, Market Data Forecast)
In 2010, this industry was at just $7.4 billion, making this a dramatic increase. What’s more, by 2024, it’s projected to reach $34.5 billion.
21. Supporting the modern vegan trend, statistics reveal that sales of plant-based milk increased by 6% since 2018.
Research reveals that plant-based milk sales now account for 13% of all milk category sales. During the same period, cow milk sales fell by 3%.
22. There was a 61% increase in non-dairy milk consumption in the US between 2012 and 2017.
(Packaged Facts, LiveKindly)
This is a drastic contrast to the 22% decrease in the US’s consumption of dairy milk between 2000 and 2016. Still, dairy milk is consumed in 90% of US households, more than nearly any other product.
23. Vegetarianism health statistics reveal that dairy alternatives were the most pronounced vegan product segment during 2018.
(Grand View Research)
Grand View Research revealed that dairy alternatives account for more than 50% of the global revenue of vegan products. Although a significant reason for this is the increasing number of vegans, it’s important to note that 65% of the global population is lactose intolerant. The continuous development of dairy-alternative snacks, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt has also added interest. The constant growth in demand will be answered with more dairy alternatives.
Worldwide Vegan Statistics
These statistics cover everything from recent changes in the worldwide perception of veganism to cultural diets and the overall popularity of veganism.
24. More than 39% of the US population is adding more vegan foods to their overall diet.
Nearly 40% of Americans, vegan and meat-eaters alike, are trying to incorporate vegan options into their diet. The reasons for this vary greatly, but nonvegan consumers reveal a preference for the healthier options offered by plant-based meals.
25. Globally, 39% of sales in the meat-alternative market occur in Europe.
Vegan and vegetarian diet facts reveal that European consumers are demonstrating a growing interest in plant-based food alternatives. This increase is due to Europeans looking for healthier and more environmentally friendly meat alternatives. In fact, the global demand for meat substitutes will grow by 8.4% by 2020.
26. 38% of the population in India is vegetarian. Israel follows at 13%, Taiwan at 12%, Italy at 10%, and Austria at 9%.
Vegetarian statistics reveal that due to its culture and religion, India leads with the highest proportion of vegetarians. Whether they’ve bought in to the vegetarian movement or not, much of the population has already been eating plant-based products for centuries due to religious beliefs.
27. Greece leads with the most vegan-friendly dishes, whether they realize it or not.
Although the US and the UK are leaders of the vegan movement, there are already many countries that offer a lot of vegan dishes as part of their culture. Greece is followed by India, China, Italy, Malaysia, and Turkey.
28. Vegan demographics show that in the UK, 1.16% of the population is vegan.
A survey of approximately 2,000 people revealed that in 2016, only 0.46% of the UK population was vegan. A second survey done in 2018 showed that the vegan community jumped to 1.16%.
29. When comparing the cost of a vegan diet vs a meat diet, note that Brits spend more than £600 on meat every year.
An analysis by thinkmoney reveals that Brits budget over £600 on meat alone every year. And this number doesn’t take into account the amount they spend on dairy products. A cost comparison in the UK reveals that it may actually be cheaper to be vegan.
The cost of being vegan has always been a source of concern. This has prevented many people from being able to afford going vegetarian or vegan in the past. However, times are changing. Many companies are looking to offer less expensive alternatives, making choosing this lifestyle more affordable.
30. Nearly half of the vegan population in the UK switched to veganism within the last year.
The latest vegetarianism facts and statistics by GlobalData, an analytics company, revealed that 42% of vegans in the UK made the change to veganism in the last 12 months. One of the reasons for this jump is the availability of a variety of high-quality, healthy, plant-based options in stores.
31. 10% of UK children between the ages of 8 and 13 are opting not to eat meat.
Due to such an unexpected increase, vegan diet facts show that about a quarter of these students have gone hungry at school due to the lack of available vegan or vegetarian options. About 77% of these youngsters were forced to eat meat at one point or another because there was no other option.
32. In 2018, the UK led the world in vegan product releases.
(Mintel Press Office)
Although Germany previously had the lead, they were beat out by the UK in 2018. The UK is strongly backing veganism with numerous restaurants and own-label supermarket vegan options.
The Percentage of Vegans in the US
The US is one of the leading countries in the vegan movement. Currently, the US vegan population is 3% of adults aged 18–29 years, 4% of those 30–49, 1% of those 50–64, and 3% of those over 65 years, as per a Gallup survey.
33. As of 2019, 4% of the adult US population doesn’t eat meat.
(Vegetarian Resource Group)
There has been a massive increase in non-meat eating Americans over the last few years. The Vegetarian Resource Group revealed in a survey addressing how many vegetarians are in the US that 4% of the population is vegetarian or vegan.
34. In the US, plant-based product sales grew by 31.3% between 2017 and 2019.
The vegan business is booming, with sales of plant-based food products totaling almost $4.5 billion according to the latest reports. Many retailers are making plant-based alternatives easier to find and afford, giving the vegan and vegetarian trend a significant boost.
35. 95% of people that eat vegan burgers in the US aren’t even vegan or vegetarian.
Although you’d expect this to mostly represent the vegan population, this statistic shows the influence non-vegans can have on this trend, as well. Even though beef burgers are hard to beat and will continue to be a favorite on menus, since last year, there’s been a gradual 10% increase in interest in vegan burgers.
The Future of Vegan Food
More and more alternatives are becoming available for vegans and vegetarians alike. In the past, there were little to no choices on the market, making it difficult to round out a healthy diet. But research into the future reveals that veganism will continue to progress.
36. A recent vegan fact sheet reveals that only 40% of the global population will eat meat by 2040.
Recent research into the way meat alternatives will disrupt the agricultural and food industries shows that the supply and consumption of conventional meat is expected to drop by 33% by 2040.
37. Expectations are that by 2025, the vegan meat market will hit $7.5 billion globally.
Allied Market Research predicts continuous growth in the global vegan meat market. Projections indicate that Europe will dominate the market, while Asia will continue to see significant growth.
38. Vegan population growth in the United Kingdom will boost the meat substitutes industry by 25% between 2017 and 2021.
The popularity of vegan and vegetarian alternatives will push for major growth in the meat substitutes industry by 2021. This will also increase the dairy alternatives industry by as much as 43%.
39. The UK vegan population will expand by 327% between November 2018 and the beginning of 2020.
A new survey of 2,000 adults by Finder.com reveals that in the next year, approximately 2.2 million people will change their diet to veganism. The rise of veganism will be substantial in the UK, increasing from 681,000 vegans in 2018 to 2.9 million by 2020.
40. Millennial vegan statistics reveal that a quarter of 25–34-year-old Americans are either vegetarian or vegan.
John Parker, an Economistcorrespondent, claimed that 2019 would be the year of the vegan. According to his research, veganism is seeing substantial advances among millennials.
41. The market for baby food that’s vegan or vegetarian will jump by 10.6% from 2016 to 2021.
(Euromonitor International, Vegan Society)
Many already vegan or vegetarian parents are opting to choose vegan or vegetarian food for their children from a very young age. The trends in vegan statistics from 2019 that we’ve already seen are also moving toward healthier alternatives in meats and dairy for the youngest in the family.
42. The most mainstream vegan food option is vegan junk food.
It’s been found that processed meatless and dairy-free junk food is appealing not only to vegans and vegetarians but to meat-eaters as well. They choose this food option either due to their interest in climate change or solely for the novelty.
43. Vegan industry statistics reveal that there’s been a 7.7% global CAGR in the vegan cheese market.
According to Allied Market Research, the European vegan cheese market is expected to reach $1.58 billion by the year 2023. One of the main reasons for such remarkable growth is that more and more people are becoming conscious of their lactose intolerance.
What percentage of the world is vegan?
Although it is difficult to calculate the exact number of vegans around the globe due to the thin line between veganism, vegetarianism, and plant-based diets, estimations are anywhere between 0.1% to 5%.
What is the most vegan country?
India is considered to be the most vegan country in the world, mainly due to their cultural and religious beliefs.
Is veganism on the rise in 2019?
Most research notes that 2019 will be the year of the vegan. However, everything points to continuous growth in veganism well past 2019.
When did veganism start?
Veganism as a lifestyle that first came to light in the first half of the 20th century, but the concept and history of veganism can be traced back to ancient Mediterranean and Indian societies.
Where does the word “vegan” come from?
The term came from Donald Watson, who founded the Vegan Society in 1944. The word consists of the first and last letters of “vegetarian” to create the word “vegan.”
Why do people go vegan?
Different people have different reasons for being a vegan. Some of the top reasons are as follows: they’re concerned with animal cruelty, they want to go green, they have certain health concerns that can be improved with a vegan diet, it’s a form of personal autonomy, they’re inspired by social media and celebrity endorsements, or they’ve been swayed by the increase in vegan food options.
How long on average do vegans live?
Scientists at the Massachusetts General Hospital monitored more than 130,000 individuals over 30 years and revealed that vegans are less likely to die at a younger age than people who are not vegan.
Do vegans get cancer?
A 15-year-long study by Oxford University revealed that vegans have a lower risk of getting cancer than their meat-eating counterparts—this is particularly true in the case of prostate cancer.
Veganism continues to be on the rise as more and more companies take advantage of the continuously growing interest and provide more dairy and meat alternatives. Although it’s tough to define the exact number of vegans worldwide, the estimated figures and market sales confirm that this is more than just a mere trend. Vegan statistics reveal that the impact of veganism won’t end in 2019 but will instead continue for years to come.
- Euromonitor International
- FoodBev Media
- Food Ingredients 1st
- Food Spark
- Grand View Research
- Just Eat
- Live Kindly
- Live Kindly
- Market Data Forecast
- Market Watch
- Mintel Press Office
- Packaged Facts
- Peta Prime
- The Boar
- The Economist
- The Guardian
- The Vegan Society
- The Vegan Society
- The Vegetarian Resource Group
- Vegan Bits
- Veganism Impact Report
- World Atlas